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The Late George Afley is sub-titled "A Novel in the Form of a 
Memoir," because it is the life and letters of a man who never lived 
in Boston and who never died there. These letters were compiled 
and the life was written by Mr. Apley's intimate friend, a Mr, 
Horatio Willing, who like. Mr. Apley is a figment of the imagina- 
tion. The same is true of all the lesser characters in the book. Mr t 
Apley's family, friends and enemies are in no sense individuals who 
have walked the streets of Boston or elsewhere in the flesh, and 
they are all concerned in adventures which never happened. This is 
as it should be, for there is nothing more glaringly inartistic than 
the sketch of an actual person or the narration of an actual event 
in the pages of a novel, since neither can fit properly into the limited 
medium of print. The truth is, if fiction is to give a sense of reality, 
the writer must create characters and circumstances which would 
assume unbelievable distortions if they appeared outside the covers 
of a book. In short, it is my humble opinion that fiction, to give an 
illusion of fact, can neVer employ fact successfully. The roman a clef, 
I believe, is a species of literature that exists only in the critic's 

Yet though there is nothing factual about the characters and 
events, I should be pleased if, when added together, they became the 


single reality of an attitude of mind. The mental approach of the late 
George Apley, which is in no sense confined to such a limited sphere 
as Boston, seems to me worthy of notice in a rapidly changing 
world. It is an attitude bred of security, the familiar viewpoint of 
generations of the rentier class. It is a phenomenon, observable in 
every civilization, and one which must exist whenever society 
assumes a stable pattern. I have tried to present a picture without 
analyzing my own reactions, but in conducting Mr. Apley through 
the trivialities of his years I confess I was startled to discover when 
I left him that he amounted to more than I had intended. Indeed, 
in many respects he seemed to approach the status of an apology for 
his class. I hope that other readers will agree with me in this and 
will share a little of my own surprise that Mr. Apley, as a human 
being, did the best he could; that he could not have done differ- 
ently; that it was not his fault that he was an Apley. 

Finally, it may be fair to warn the reader that the effusions of 
Mr. Willing and the letters of Mr. Apley must not be considered 
as literary models. In spite of all his pedantry and pretensions and 
pride at being called a purist, I have intended Mr. Willing to be a 
very unsound writer. It often amused me to make him rise to the 
heights of verbose elaboration, only to fall down hard on grammar 
and good usage. This habit of Mr. Willing's has been an annoyance 
to many readers, but I hope the device reveals his character. As for 
Mr. Apley and other members of his family, I had them write their 
letters hastily and informally, and so they exhibit many glaring 
faults. Mr. Apley was never a purist. There are many Bostonians 
like him in that respect. 


December^ 1939 





































A Necessary Exposition of 

Circumstances Permitting a Certain Incorrect 

Liberty in the Penning of 

This Memoir 

EORGE WILLIAM APLEY was born in the house 
of his maternal grandfather, William Leeds Hancock, 
on the steeper part of Mount Vernon Street, on Beacon Hill, 
on January 25, 1866. He died in his own house, which over- 
looks the Charles River Basin and the Esplanade, on the 
water side of Beacon Street, on December 13, 1933. This was 
the frame in which his life moved, and the frame which will 
surround his portrait as a man. He once said of himself: "I am 
the sort of man I am, because environment prevented my be- 
ing anything else." 

It is now my task, to which I have agreed under somewhat 
unusual circumstances, to depict the life of this valued friend 
of mine through his own writings. I can think of no more 
suitable way of beginning than by resorting to an explanation 
which is, in a measure, personal. It has been my privilege 
many times in the past to edit the notes and letters of other 
prominent Bostonians under the advice of the family. In this 


case, as is usual in such matters, the advice of the family stands 
first. In this case, however, the advice is not usual. 

Shortly after I read the obituary notice of George William 
Apley at the annual meeting of the Berkley Club, when our 
departed members for the year are customarily remembered, 
a work which was welcome to me because of our friend- 
ship, 1 was surprised by the following comment frpm his 
son, John Apley: 

Dear Mr. Willing: 

I did not have time to thank you the other night -for the 
appreciation which you read of my father at the Berkley 
Club. As I might have expected, you did yourself and the 
old man proud. I only had this one criticism to offer: As I 
sat back in the dim part of the room watching you stand on 
the stage beside the secretary with your papers, I could not 
avoid thinking of all the other lives which I had heard read 
out from that platform in sonorous, periodic sentences. Per- 
haps I had had a touch too much of champagne at the din- 
ner downstairs, but if so I think it only sharpened my per- 
ceptions, or did it make me see more than double? At any 
rate, I seemed to see, through the passage of the years, a 
string of members with their medals and their colored senior- 
ity waistcoats rising from the darkness on the floor and pos- 
sibly stumbling over somebody's glass, as they walked one by 
one up to the platform with their papers in their hands. I 
seemed to hear the lives of all our fellow members read out 
with the usual comments, and those comments were always 
similar. You made Father seem like all the others, Mr. Will- 
ing. You shaded over the affair of Attorney O'Reilly and 
some other things we know. You talked about the Historical 
Society and about the fight against the electric signs around 


the Common, but you did not mention his feud with Moore 
and Fields j you told what he had done for the Art Museum, 
but you did not tell how the New York dealer gypped him on 
the pre-Han bronzes. You mentioned his graciousness as a 
host at those Sunday luncheons at Milton and when the Mon- 
day Club had its meetings at our place on Beacon Street. Do 
you remember the gold chaiis in the two upper rooms and 
the creamed oysters and coffee waiting in the dining-room 
downstairs when the speaker for the evening was finished? 
You mentioned all these things, but not a word of how 
Eleanor and 1 disappointed him and Mother. 

Perhaps you were right, given the time and place, but I 
wonder if Father would have liked it? You can answer that 
better than I can, because you knew him better. Personally, I 
chink he would like the truth for once. I hope so because 
I was rather fond of him. He was kind to me when 1 was 
a kid; he was swell when we used to go camping and 1 shall 
never forget the picnics on the beach, and the days of the 
Harvard-Yale game. 

Naturally Father always kept up his facade. Naturally we 
never quarrelled actively even inside the family, but I re- 
member one thing he safd to me once. It sticks, when so much 
of his advice eddied into one ear and out the other. He was 
angry at the time and bitterly disappointed with me, because 
I would not go into the firm of Apley and Reid, thus chang- 
ing it to Apley, Reid, and Apley. This is what he said: u l'm 
the only father you'll ever have, and you're the only son 
I'll ever have. Let us try not to forget it." 

With this in mind and I know this letter must seem ram- 
bling to anyone with your eye and your sense of style I 
come to my purpose in writing you. You may have guessed 
already that it involves your capacity as a compiler of dis 
tinguished pasts. You are now Boston's Dean of Letters, Mr. 


Willing, and now that the mantle has descended upon you, 
the earnest request of another dutiful son follows that man- 
tle, if the simile is not too involved. I, and the rest of the 
family, would be very proud and grateful if you could find 
the time and inclination to take in hand rhy father's notes and 
letters. You know he was getting them together himself 
shortly before his death. 

My Aunt Amelia has probably spoken to you already of 
this project, as Aunt Amelia has somehow taken upon herself 
the conviction that she is the head of the family, and the 
custodian of its heirlooms and documents. Nevertheless, my 
request will be different from hers in its essentials j or perhaps 
it is not a request, but rather a humble suggestion. Do you 
not think it would be possible to edit and comment upon my 
father's letters and papers so that the result would be more 
distinctive than your exposition before the Berkley Club? 
How would it be if these letters should tell the trutlr about 
him? Not that I insinuate that you do not always tell the 
truth I mean that on this occasion you leave matters in the 
record which your conscience and loyalty might otherwise 
blot out. Do you think it would do any real harm, provided 
we put a limit on the copies of this book, say fifteen, for cir- 
culation among only the immediate members of the family? 
This might, of course, be hard for you in that you would be 
denied the customary public acclaim which your skill so well 
deserves. But I should insist on paying you, of course, as 
though the work were to have a wide circulation, and also you 
might have the artist's satisfaction, rare, as I have heard 
you say, for one who must earn a living by letters, to deal 
with your subject veraciously. This seems to me your chance 
and mine to do a last piece of justice to Father, and I have 
an idea that Father would appreciate it. Will you think it 


over, Mr. Willing? Pll be glad to consult with you at length, 
if you should care to have me. 

My main preoccupation is that this thing should be real. 
You know, and 1 know, that Father had guts. 

As ever yours, 

I may say frankly that I was challenged by John Apley's 
letter, although its style has made me wonder what there 
is which is wrong with a Harvard and Groton education. Any 
graduate of any English Public School, any British journalist, 
is so much more familiar with the structure of his language. It 
is disconcerting to find John Apley, the product of the two 
best educational institutions which I believe America can 
offer, standing against a background which has prized culture 
for many generations, resorting finally to the monosyllable 
"guts" in order to define his meaning. It may be a small 
matter, but it is one which I think is important. The answer 
lies somewhere in the perpetual revolt of youth from tradi- 
tion. Considering the matter broad-mindedly, I believe that 
George Apley had something more than this in his character. 
He had the essential, undeviating discipline of background, 
which the letter of his son has given me the incentive to 

Certain aspects, which I might ordinarily have eliminated 
in dealing with a portrait to be painted by the subject's own 
words and interpreted by mine, I shall now allow to stand 
in deference to his son's request. 

And now arises a final question and one which has per- 
plexed many another biographer. What is truth in a life? In 
order to delineate character there must be an artistic stressing 


of certain qualities but are these the vital qualities? Who 
has the right to say? 

Like many other families imbued with the Puritan tradi- 
tion, the Apleys have not been in the habit of destroying 
letters or papers. As a fortunate consequence of this, John 
Apley has been able to deliver to me a surprisingly complete 
dossier of his father's life, beginning with the letters which 
were scrawled out in his boyhood to his father, Thomas, and 
to his mother, Elizabeth Apley. The letters continue through 
his life stream, notes to relatives and friends, notes to business 
associates, and conventionally composed pieces of correspond- 
ence, such as those relating to the widening of the Esplanade 
and to the display of electric signs across the Common. Be- 
sides these, George Apley has preserved portions of his own 
works such as his address to his class on its fortieth anni- 
versary, his paper at the Centenary celebration of his Harvard 
undergraduate Club, and the papers which he read at inter- 
vals before the Monday Club and the Historical Society. 

To a casual observer, from another 'section than our own, 
these works may not seem worth preserving. Taken individ- 
ually this may be so, but collectively they reveal the spirit of 
the man and his influence on the life around him. They reveal 
too, I think, the true spirit of our city and of our time, since 
Apley was so essentially a part of bothu 



Apley's Ozvn Account of Antecedents, 

Which Must Definitely Motivate the Life of 

Any Man with a Family 

IOGRAPHY, like every other branch of art, must have 
its form and its conventions. Conventionally one starts 
with ancestral roots in order to answer the question: What 
made the man? In this instance we are so fortunate as to be 
able to supply the answer, given by the man himself in one of 
his random papers. One cannot do better than to let him speak 
in his own words of the Apley family, as set forth in a memo- 
randum written to his son John and his daughter Eleanor from 
his Beacon Street library in the year 1912. I have spent many 
an evening with him there in that snug room situated at the 
head of his stairs on the second floor of .the Beacon Street 
house, walled in by the leather backs of good books, with the 
prints of sailing ships above the shelves and his collection of 
shaving mugs just below them. His interests may have been 
varied but his discrimination, undeviating. 

Dear John and Eleanor: 

The other evening when I was seated here in the library 
I had the door half open for the sake of ventilation. You 


know how the wind whips up across the Basin on a winter 
night, making it impossible to open the window even a crack. 
That was why my door was open, not from any desire to pry 
into the affairs of another generation. 

It may not occur to you how distinctly voices carry up our 
tairs, particularly the voices with the Apley enunciation, and 
you two, I am pleased to observe, have the Apley voice. I 
heard you talking to the Burrage boys about your Uncle 
William. Don't think that I mind that. You were speaking 
about his plumbing and his stair carpet in Fairfield Street. 
You were suggesting that, with his income, your Uncle Wil- 
liam might make certain renovations. It may seem strange 
to you that the idea surprised me in that it was new to me. 

Your Great-Uncle William's house has always seemed to 
me a part of him and, therefore, not subject to change. The 
plainness of its furnishings, the draughtiness of its halls, the 
worn tines of the forks on his dining table, and the darns in 
his table linen have been to me an expression of his character 
and an intimation of inherent worth. Your Great-Uncle Wil- 
liam, if he wished, could live with the ostentation of the 
nowveau riche; but he does not wish it. He has a dislike for 
external show, which is shared by others accustomed to 
money. He still goes to his place of business in the trolley 
cars. He buys perhaps one suit a year, as 1^ heard you both 
observing. In commenting on this you must not forget his 
generosity to others. You have seen the row of Rembrandts 
he has given to the Art Museum, but you do not know that 
he contributed anonymously three million dollars to the 
South Boston playgrounds, and that he has supported our 
family charity, the Apley Sailors' Home, for the last twenty 

I do not object to your kughing at Uncle William,' for 
I have done so myself in my time. The only thing that sur- 


prises me is your belief that he should change, when his care 
in living is a part of his philanthropy. From the time of the 
Roman Empire down, indulgence in the externals of wealth 
has never benefited a community. Your uncle realizes that 
there are more important things than modern plumbingj 
I pray that you two will come to that realization in time. 
I wonder if you will. Besides, William Apley is a lover of 
music, and owns one of the largest and best Chinese porcelain 
galleries in America. You have heard of the Rockefeller 
Hawthornes? Ask Uncle William to show you his. 

From your comment on your relative the drift of your 
conversation trended naturally to families, particularly to 
Boston families. I heard you laughing at the pride which 
certain of our connections take in the family tree, and I 
could almost have laughed with you, although this is a Bos- 
ton joke that was vieux jeu even in my day. I heard you say 
that we all came from yeoman stock, small English shop- 
keepers and farmers. You were quite right in this. 1 was only 
surprised that you had not discovered the fact before. The 
simplicity of our beginnings makes for your Uncle William's 
.simplicity, but do not forget that these ancestors of yours 
had their beliefs and convictions. 

I have heard certain things about the Apley family passed 
down by word of mouth which 1 shall pass to you now in 
writing, for there'll be a day, perhaps, when you may wish 
to be identified with a family. 

The Apleys have lived in the town of Totswold-Fearing 
in Sussex as far back as there are any parish records. There 
are Apleys there still, as 1 found out for myself during the 
last trip which your Mother and I took through rural Eng- 
land. The first American Apley, Thomas, known in the town 
records as "Goodman Apley," settled in Roxbury in the year 


If you recall your early Ameriqan history, this date coin- 
cides with the great period of emigration from the Mother 
Country, not of persons struggling to find a new home be- 
cause of poverty, like the starving Irish who overwhelmed 
us in the middle of the last century, but of solid citizens, 
many with substantial properties, who desired to take up a 
new abode because of conscience. It is true that few gentle- 
men entitled to a coat of arms were engaged in this adven- 
ture j but there was good society in Salem, Roxbury, and 
Watertown, as SewalPs diary bears witness a far more 
cultivated society, I believe, than any which existed in the 
early Plymouth Colony. I, personally, do not think that per- 
sons who boast of ancestors coming over on the Mayflower 
have very much of which to be proud, but this is beside the 

Thomas Apley at his death in 1672 left two dwelling 
houses, fifteen acres of land, and rights in the Common pas- 
ture for forty cattle ; two feather beds, two silver tankards, 
and an Indian slave named Tomfrey, who had probably been 
captured in some of the troubles with the Narragansetts that 
led to King Philip's War. During his career in this country 
he had three wives and twenty children, half of whom died 
in infancy. None of those surviving appears to have made a 
name for himself except your ancestor John Apley, second 
son by the second marriage, who was selected by his father 
for the clergy. John Apley attended Harvard, graduating 
with the class of 1662, and I may add there has been an 
Apley at Harvard since in each succeeding generation. 

This John Apley, whose life has been touched upon by 
Cotton Mather in his "Magnalia Christi Americana," be- 
came, after his ordination, one of the ministers in the town- 
ship of Barnstable on Cape Cod. He was influential there in 
converting the Indians, and is known to have delivered a ser- 


mon to them in their own language on an occasion when 
these people met in great numbers on the beach to play a 
game which has been called "football." I have never been 
able to determine what sort of a game this "football" was 
except that several hundred Indians took part in it, but I 
am often pleased to think that John Apley interested himself 
in football, as the game has always fascinated me. You must 
remember that the position of an ordained minister in the 
days of Massachusetts Bay was a very high one, socially, in 
the community. Thus it is not strange that John Apley should 
have allied himself with Martha Dudley, not a direct connec- 
tion of the able Thomas or of his arrogant son, Joseph, but 
from a collateral branch which many believe is better. 

In consequence their eldest son, Nathaniel Apley, took his 
place in Boston as a young man of some cultivation and 
fashion. You may have seen his portrait by Dummer, the 
Essex County silversmith, which was presented by your 
great-grandfather to the Boston Athenaeum. The picture, 
which hangs to-day in the oval Trustees' Room opposite the 
case of volumes from George Washington's library, shows 
a thin young man in a blue coat and a brown wig. In the 
Harvard Catalogue of 1687 Nathaniel Apley is listed as 
"Mr." an accurate indication of his social position in those 
days of gentlemen and commoners. Presumably because of 
his relationship to Governor Dudley he seems to have left 
for England during the troubled period two years later, but 
returned shortly to marry Maria Gookin, a daughter of that 
family which can honestly claim as great distinction and 
gentility as any in the early Commonwealth. 

Nathaniel engaged in trading ventures with the West 
Indies, bartering fish and lumber for sugar, and I suspect in- 
vesting in shipments of blacks to the Carolinas. In those day 
the slave trade was strictly honourable. He prospered in this 


business and bought himself a dwelling house on the north 
end of Boston Peninsula. You may see his house marked on 
Bonner's famous map of Boston. His stone is in the King's 
Chapel burying ground. 

His son, Joseph, from whom we are descended, was in 
the Harvard class of 1733, but was expelled for using profane 
language in Massachusetts Hall. On a business viit to the 
town of Portsmouth he wooed and won the local belle, Eliza- 
beth Pringle, in the old Pringle homestead now fortunately 
preserved by the Colonial Dames of America. Her picture 
in the dining-room downstairs probably does not do her jus- 
tice, since it was painted by one of those journeyman artists 
who travelled up and down the Eastern seacoast. 

Their son John graduated from Harvard with the class of 
1757 and I have two of his pamphlets in my possession, deal- 
ing with arguments in favour of the Writs of Assistance. His 
portrait, painted by Copley when John Apley was eighty- 
seven, fell to your Aunt Amelia when your grandfather's 
estate was divided. Before that time it used to hang directly 
above the sideboard in the dining-room at Hillcrest in Mil- 
ton where I personally believe it should have been left, 
if only out of sentiment to your grandfather's memory. Your 
Aunt Amelia thought differently, however, and the portrait 
now has its place among her Burne-Jones pictures in her 
front parlour in Louisburg Square. Even in these Pre- 
Raphaelite surroundings the features of our famous ancestor 
reveal the deadly reality of Copley and his pitiless and sel- 
dom complimentary probing of character. For Copley, as you 
know, probably because of his plain beginnings, did not have 
the politeness or the graceful tradition of either Stuart or 
Blackburn. The features of our ancestor in this Copley 
and 1 have heard Charlie Jones and Briggs Danforth and 
other leading instructors from the Museum Art School say 


that this is Copley at his finest ~have the wintry grey white- 
ness of old age, with just a touch of pink at the cheekbones 
that verges into purple. The left hand, beautifully executed, 
is clutching at a faded, purplish brocaded dressing gown. 

Although in the pre-Revolution days John Apley's senti- 
ments appear to have been distinctly Royalist even down to 
the time of the Boston Massacre, his name is mentioned 
among those who contributed secretly a sum for powder 
and arms at the eve of the Bunker Hill battle. Yet when the 
Revolutionary War was over, we find him deploring the an- 
archy of the times, and some of his letters suggest the ad- 
visability of a monarchical form of government. I can re- 
member when I was ten years old hearing my Great-Aunt 
Jane, then in her ninety-second year, speak of him with af- 

"You will never know," my Aunt Jane said to me, "how 
very close we come to being nobility. In a sense, indeed, we 
are nobility." 

My great-aunt was not the only one whom I have heard 
speak in this vein. It amuses me to think of her in these 
days when pandering politicians in Bulfinch's State House are 
discussing such socialistic nonsense as an income tax and old 
age insurance, 

I have never discovered why John Apley quarrelled with 
his son George and cut him off in his will with a shilling, 
except that George married out of his social sphere. At the 
age of sixteen he became enamoured of a Maria Cabot from 
Beverly. Her family at that time were people of good plain 
stock, engaged in coastal shipping, but only in a small way. 
When young George persisted he was turned incontinently 
out of doors and communications between him and his father 
came to an abrupt and permanent termination. 1 imagine 
that certain distant branches of the Apley family are sorry for 


this to-day; for the Apley ability went with George and his 
young wife, Maria, to the farming community of Sudbury 
where the young couple occupied a farm of some eighty 
acres near the marshes of the Sudbury River, lived in great 
want, and were blessed with a family of five sons. 

The early days of the Reconstruction Era so aptly 
termed by my dear late friend, John Fiske, "The Critical 
Period of American History" found these five boys and 
their parents wresting a meagre living from the soil. I have 
told you that the Apleys were plain people, but this short ac- 
count of mine is evidence enough that good stock will not 
entirely disappear. 

At this point George Apley's narrative breaks off abruptly, 
and the memorandum certainly never went farther than his 
desk. The life and customs of Colonial days were a source of 
deep interest and of not a little Amusement to him in his late 
middle age. He gradually acquired from collateral branches 
of the Apley family various heirlooms of his early ancestors, 
including a magnificent pair of silver tankards by Hurd, which 
are now on loan in the American Wing of the Art Museum. 
It must be added in all fairness that George Apley's attitude 
in ancestral matters was not always the same as that reflected 
in the foregoing paper. In this connection it may be as well to 
insert a portion of a letter which he wrote in 1902 to his class- 
mate, Henry Schuyler Wilkie, after a visit to New York. 

Dear Schuy: 

Seeing you in the modern Sodom and Gomorrah did your 
poor friend Ap a good deal of good. Of course, no one from 
my cautious part of the world is entirely at home in New 
York. The lights of the theatres and the noise of the traffic 
around Twenty-third Street upset us, but I hope I did my 


best once I caught the spirit of it. 1 shan't forget for quite 
a while the race we had in hansom cabs through the Park. 

Now I am back in the Jand where the gold grasshopper 
swings above Faneuil Hall to the bidding of a damp east 
wind. I have had family dinned in my ears ever since I have 
been able to think. My life has been governed by the rigour? 
of blue-nosed bigots who have been in their graves for a 
century. . . . 

Such erratic changes in his mood as these, although they be- 
came less frequent in George Apley's later life, were a part of 
his character which endeared him to many friends. Several 
years after he composed this first memorandum he evidently 
discovered it in going through his desk, for we have a con- 
tinuation, penned in 1916, from exactly where he had left off. 

Dear John and Eleanor: 

I may as well finish this, though I shall probably destroy 
it before you read it. It is a bad habit to break things off 

Moses Apley left the farm at the age of fourteen (your 
great-grandfather) to enter the Derby countinghouse in 
Salem. This position, as far as we know, was obtained for 
the boy through the intercession of the Cabot connection. 
Moses Apley's own autobiography, which I must say reveals 
very little, is now in the library as I write. His other letter- 
books and business papers have been loaned, quite properly, 
to the Essex Institute in Salem. Moses Apley appeared at 
one of those rare times in the history of the world when wars 
were besetting civilization. At the age of fifteen he sailed 
as a clerk on the Derbv brig Stella for the Baltic. At the age 
of eighteen he was master of the Derby brig Good Hope 
bound for Madagascar and China with a cargo valued at 


fifteen thousand dollars. This, as your see, was the beginning 
of our commerce with the Orient. At Madagascar, on hearing 
of the outbreak of war between France and England, this 
boy somehow boys in this part of the world matured more 
quickly then, in spite of there not being a Harvard Business 
School contrived to sell his cargo for three times its value 
and place the proceeds in currency, which itself doubled its 
value, before the Good Hope left port three months later. 
Finally at Canton, he contrived to put aboard a cargo of tea 
purchased at panic prices. This was due to the fortunate 
suicide of the agent of the British firm of French and Daniels 
at the Canton Factories. Returning by way of the Cape of 
Good Hope your Great-Grandfather Moses touched at the 
vicinity of Fernando Po on the African coast and was able 
to trade a consignment of rum, which he had purchased in 
Canton from a New England shipmaster who was dying of 
flux, for ivory tusks. These had been accumulating for some 
time at a Portuguese factory on the Fernando Po coast j and 
owing to unsettled world conditions, and an ocean thick with 
privateers, there seemed little chance that this ivory could 
reach a market. These details are treated with meticulous ac- 
curacy in your great-grand father's autobiography, and I only 
mention the superficial aspects here to show why Moses Ap- 
ley, through his determination and judgment, ended his life 
jas one of the richest shipping men in Boston, the beloved 
and respected friend of the houses of Peabody and Perkins. 
When the brig Good Hope, after eluding a French privateer 
and a British sloop of war, finally returned to the Derby 
wharf in Salem at the end of a two years' voyage, Moses Ap- 
ley, not yet in his legal majority, was able to present the 
Derby countinghouse with a cargo valued at well over one 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. His own share of this* 
as Master, was sufficient for him to purchase a vessel of his 


own, the brig Pretty Pearly then building at the yards in 
Essex. The name, as you may suspect, was sentimental. She 
was named for Pearl Frear, of the Frear family in Salem, 
who was later to become your great-grandmother. Though 
it has been said that your great-grandfather was somewhat 
relentless in his later dealings, no one has questioned his up- 
rightness or his probity. His two-hundred-thousand-dollar 
endowment of the Apley Sailors' Home, an immense sum in 
those days, is proof enough of his charitable instincts. 

There is one story about him which you may not have 
heard, but one which seems to me worth repeating. Moses 
Apley was summoned to his father's bedside when George 
Apley was dying in the Sudbury farmhouse ; the old man 
was in his bed, well toward the end of his last illness, and 
he was troubled in his mind. He had willed his farm and his 
personal possessions to the remaining four brothers, leaving 
Moses out of the estate. He wished Moses to understand that 
his only motive in making this testament was because he had 
heard that Moses had done well in business. 

"Father," your great-grandfather said to him, "don't 
worry. A vessel of mine has just come alongside the wharf 
with a cargo which can buy the whole town of Sudbury." 

The old man groaned and turned his face to the wall. 

"To think," he said, "that 1 must die and know my son a 

We will leave your great-grandfather now. I have only 
known him from his portrait in the parlour, for he died be- 
fore I was born, leaving a family of seven children, but we 
have Moses Apley to thank that we are financially comfort- 
able to-day. What little we have is due to Moses Apley, and 
I think that we may be proud of him with reason. His house, 
in what is now our business district, was torn down even be- 
fore the Boston fire; but there is a drawing of it in your 


great-uncle's hall, just by the hatrack near the stairs. The 
next time you go to see Uncle William ask Bridget to turn 
up the gas a little ; explain to her that you want to see the 
picture. She will understand you, if you shout at her loudly 
enough. It is well worth looking at. 



Continuing Our Subject's Own Account of 
the Early Struggles of Thomas and Elizabeth Apley 

YOUR great-grandfather's estate, though large, suffered 
somewhat during the decline of Boston shipping and 
from a fire on the waterfront. Yet even when it was divided 
my father, Thomas Apley, was comfortably off. His own 
business acumen was responsible for conserving and enlarg- 
ing his estate so that it amounts to the little we have to-day. 
During his entire life your grandfather, who might have lived 
upon his income, rose at five-thirty every morning'j at nine 
o'clock each evening he took his candle and went upstairs. 
He had been educated for the law at Harvard, as I have been, 
but his proclivities were always those of a businessman. He 
and your Uncle William, when they formed a partnership to 
administer their and their brothers > and sisters' share of the 
Moses Apley estate, turned instinctively from the sea. In 
those grim days of depression before the Civil War they 
understood that New England's future was essentially in- 

The mills in the town of Apley Falls on the upper Merri- 
mack River are the direct results of their vision. The success 
of our family venture, the Apley Mills, has been due in its 


broader aspects to the more mature mind of your grandfather. 
It was he who arranged the financing and for the useful em- 
ployment and the suitable accommodation of labourers from 
the great horde of Irish then pouring into the port of Boston. 
The aspersions cast upon the living conditions of the mill 
hands at Apley Falls by certain propagandists of the South 
were always a source of pain to your grandfather, as well as 
one of just indignation. The Southern apologists for their 
"peculiar institution" of slavery published reports in Rich- 
mond and Norfolk papers to the effect that a slave on the 
average Southern plantation had better food, better care, and 
greater prospects for happiness than the workers in the Apley 
Mills. My father contended to the last days of his life that 
no more untrue or unjust comparison was ever made. 

These Irish peasants, coming from a land of starvation 
where they had existed beneath absentee landlords in a situa- 
tion little better than serfdom, were given good brick houses 
at Apley Falls, steady labour to keep them out of mischief, 
and a wage equal to that which they might have obtained 
elsewhere. Their children received the benefits of common 
schooling, and they themselves, though nearly all illiterate, 
had the blessings of free thought and action. 

More than this, these people were grateful for it, as I know 
myself. When I was a boy of seven, on a visit to your Uncle 
William at Apley Falls I remember walking (between him 
and your grandfather) up a street made up of these long 
brick rows of millworkers' cottages. The evening's work was 
done 5 the men and their womenfolk were seated placidly on 
their porches with nothing before them but the prospect of 
a comfortable supper and a working wage the next day. Their 
looks of pleasure and affection were certainly not purposely 
assumed when Uncle William and my father walked by. I 
can see them still, the women bobbing and curtsying, the 


men pulling their forelocks. They regarded my uncle and 
my father each as their friend and protector who gave them 
shelter and livelihood, and advice and assistance in family 
difficulties. There was no such thing as labour trouble in those 
days at Apley Falls, because there were no such things as un- 
sound ideas, and no desire for shoddy luxuries. There was 
no desire for luxuries because there were none, and I wish 
it were the same to-day. 

My father was responsible for the broader policies of this 
venture. Your Great-Uncle William, still a boy in his teens, 
had the direct charge of the enterprise and lived at Apley 
Falls and worked as hard as, if not harder than, any labourer 
in the Mills, and carried the burden of his responsibility home 
with him at night. This responsibility must have been enon 
mous, for nearly the entire capital of the family estate was 
involved in the infant textile industry and it is only due to 
the unfaltering assiduity for work, the abstemiousness, the 
watchfulness, and the acumen of these two men that we arc 
as comfortable as we are to-day. 

Considering their responsibilities, both for family and em- 
ployees, I think it is natural that they were not greatly in 
sympathy with the agitators of the time. The Abolitionist 
Movement was anathema to my father, who saw, as so many 
other solid businessmen also saw, the blind folly of a political 
war between the North and South. It must have been hard on 
my father to take this position, for in many ways he was a 
liberal and stood firmly for the freedom of human initiative j 
also in his leisure he was interested in the arts. 1 have often 
heard him speak with affection and pride of that fine flower- 
ing of New England genius, the Transcendentalist Colony at 
Concord. He always spoke with deep respect of the works of 
Mr. Emerson and of many of Channing's sermons. He 
was particularly amused and delighted with the vagaries of 


Thoreau. He had the deepest respect for the views of our 
essayists, and even of our novelists, although he felt, I think 
rightly, that fiction was the most trivial and ephemeral of 
all the arts. While maintaining this interest, he had no great 
patience for the unsound, radical inclinations which always 
seem to be tied up with a literary society. He stated his views 
to me once in terms which are as sound to-day as the rest of 
his philosophy. 

"Your poet," he said, "your minister, your essayist, is not 
a man of affairs. He is completely unsuccessful almost in- 
variably in the realms of banking and business. Being unsuc- 
cessful, it is beyond me why his views on economics and poli- 
tics should be given the slightest attention," 

At the time of the outbreak of the Civil War your grand- 
father had been married for a year to Elizabeth Hancock, a 
good match for both of them, based primarily on love but 
also on a community of friends and interests. As a young 
husband who was about to become a father, and as the head 
of an important business enterprise, upon which hundreds 
depended for their daily bread, my father, although as 
staunch a Unionist as anyone in Boston, when the fatal die 
was cast, could not fight in the Civil War. At the time of the 
Draft Act he was obliged, much to his own regret, to hire a 
substitute. Clarence Corcoran, the head gardener of his coun- 
try place at Hilkrest, took your grandfather's place in the 
ranks, receiving the usual bounty and with it the promise that 
his little family should be cared for comfortably in case of 
:.ny accident. I once saw some letters that my father wrote to 
Clarence at the time of the Wilderness Campaign letters 
of affection and good cheer, each with a financial enclosure. 

It is gratifying to add that Clarence came back safely and 
that a friendship existed between him and my father which 
endured even after Clarence was obliged to leave Hillcrest, 


on account of drunkenness and an unfortunate infatuation for 
your grandmother's maid. Clarence and the Corcorans have 
been pensioners of the family ever since, even down to his 
grandson, John Apley Corcoran, whose tuition I paid myself 
ir Boston University and later in the Suffolk Law School. 

Your grandfather bought and improved the place at Hill- 
crest when its former owners were faced with hard times. In 
his later days he felt a deep affection, which I have inherited, 
for every stick and stone of it. I have often stood with him, 
as a child, on a spring evening, watching the purple and white 
festoons of the wistaria against the columns of the veranda. 
When one of the elm trees sickened on the driveway circle, 
his concern was as great as if one of us had been dying. Your 
grandfather, also, bought this house on Beacon Street when 
the Back Bay was filled in, and this leads me to a single amus- 
ing instance of his unfailing business foresight. 

Shortly before he purchased in Beacon Street he had been 
drawn, like so many others, to build one of those fine bow- 
front houses around one of these shady squares in the South 
End. When he did so nearly everyone was under the impres- 
sion that this district would be one of the most solid residen- 
tial sections of Boston instead of becoming, as it is to-day, a 
region of rooming houses and worse. You may have seen 
those houses in the South End, fine mansions with dark wal- 
nut doors and beautiful woodwork. One morning, as Tim, 
the coachman, came up with the carnage, to carry your aunt 
Amelia and me to Miss Hendrick's Primary School, my fa- 
ther, who had not gone down to his office at the usual early 
hour because he had a bad head cold, came out with us to 
the front steps. I could not have been more than seven at the 
time, but I remember the exclamation that he gave when he 
observed the brownstone steps of the house across the street. 

"Thunderation," Father said, "there is a man in his shirt 


sleeves on those steps." The next day he sold his house for 
what he had paid for it and we moved to Beacon Street. Your 
grandfather had sensed the approach of change 5 a man in his 
shirt sleeves had told him that the days of the South End 
were numbered. 

I shall not speak at length of my mother, not because I 
could not but because of the tenderness of my memories and 
my admiration for her: These make me shy and self-conscious 
even with my children. Beneath the discipline of my father 
the routine of our family life was very strict, but I do not 
think too strict. Through it all my mother was a cheerful, 
loving wife and a kind friend to everyone who knew her, firm 
in her convictions, but charitable to weakness. Her love of 
literature and music and of painting was very great, but she 
did not over-indulge herself in any of these directions. I think 
that she feared that such an interest would overbalance her 
responsibility to her home. Even when her mind failed in 
the latter years of her life, she still felt that responsibility 
very keenly. You remember her in her wheel chair at Hill- 
crest, knitting mufflers on the porch. Your Great-Aunt Jane, 
of course, you may remember better, but your grandmother, 
though quieter, had all your Aunt Jane's determination. 

I have gone on with this longer than I had intended but 
it has given me a pleasant evening, so pleasant that I am 
afraid I have not achieved the purpose I undertook when I 
began. It was my intention to give you something of our 
family background, that you both might understand the char- 
acter of the people from whom you spring. You were right 
in believing that they are simple but there is an importance 
in their simplicity which you must not forget. I think there 
is no reason why you should not be proud of the Apleys, as 
proud as any Virginian is of his own ancestry. The other day 
I heard vour Aunt Amelia say: "When I am depressed I re- 


member I am an Apley." At the time I was amused by the 
remark. Her self-importance often exasperates and amuses 
me. Yet, granted that her remark was poorly phrased', so that 
it was silly, the fact remains that it is worth while for anyone 
to have behind him a few generations of honest, hard-working 

This memorandum is necessarily short. Its author has left 
out many important facts, but in its essentials it conveys some 
impression of George Apley's point of view. Pride in family, 
place, and tradition were inherent with the man; his realiza- 
tion of their importance grew with the years, until many of his 
activities became centered about genealogical research. 

Nevertheless, it must be remembered that this is a later de- 
velopment of his character. Time changes all things. 



A Hasty Evaluation of the 

Background and Philosophy of a Golden Era, 

Much of Which Fortunately Still Survives 

HAVING dealt briefly with the family background, our 
next task is inevitably a reconstruction of the scene upon 
which George Apley's eyes first opened. It will be the pano- 
rama of the Boston known to George Apley, the child, the boy, 
and the youth. 1 shall try to give this background clearly in 
the earnest hope that such a reconstruction is possible, for in 
It must lie my interpretation of George Apley's character. At 
che age of thirty -two, George Apley once wrote to a friend: 

I move along a narrow groove. With the exception of two 
months in Europe when I was twenty, ten trips to New York 
and one to Washington, I do not believe that I have been 
farther away from Boston than Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 
to the North, Lenox to the West, or Providence to the South. 

It is painfully trite to say that the Boston of the early seven- 
ties is vastly different from the Metropolitan Boston of the 
present j yet if one lists some of the changes which have oc- 
curred since then, the difference is so immense that this trite- 


ness is overpowered by significance. At no time in the history 
of the world have such material changes occurred as those in 
George Ap ley's life span. The impact of these changes upon 
the mind of an individual must necessarily be portentous and 
immense. Let us sum it up in a single homely detail that may 
convey an impression better than reverberating facts. Let u$ 
start, without any wish to appear humorous, with the mud- 
scrapers on the houses of Beacon Hill. 

In the constantly shifting American scene the appurtenances 
essential to another generation are only too apt to be swept 
away by the ruthless hand of what is so incorrectly called 
"progress." It is to the credit of Boston that these changes have 
occurred slowly, and only after a struggle with the sounder 
element. There is still a decorous pause between innovations, 
although this pause is admittedly briefer than it was. In the 
midst of this haste for tearing down much of what is fine, it is 
not unpleasant for one of the writer's age to be able to walk 
peacefully through a part of his city, there to observe a few 
vistas which have not changed greatly since the days of his 
boyhood. One can turn the clock back without great difficulty 
as one ascends Mt. Vernon Street toward the State House, or 
turns left, through Louisburg Square, up the even steeper 
paths of Pinckney. 

Here the brick sidewalks are still at such an angle that sev- 
eral pedestrians each winter suffer from broken hips after an 
easterly, sleet storm. With but few exceptions the hitching 
posts have been removed from the curbs of these sidewalks, 
but here and there an iron ring set in the curbing is a silent 
reminder of the days of the horse, when a child might coast 
down Mt. Vernon Street The covered alleyways and the 
lanes which lead from Mt. Vernon toward Beacon Street are 


still extant, and the property deeds still include their clauses 
for the right to lead through these lanes one or more cows for 
pasturage on the Common. Such matters as these, of course, 
were curiosities like the purple windowpanes in some of the 
Beacon Street houses even in the early seventies. But this 
was not so with the iron scrapers on the Cape Ann granite steps. 
They stand alone on Beacon Hill as memorials to a muddier 
Boston, a Boston of blacksmiths and cobblestones. The details 
of these bits of ironwork vary in design, and, if one observes 
them closely, one may detect something of the spare grace of 
line which is so manifest in the doorways and facades above 
them. Given the time for research, a highly informative paper 
might be written about this ironwork. 

At the time of Apley's birth, although his parents were bet- 
ter than comfortably off, the Apley establishment was sensibly 
rigorously simple. The summers were spent at the country 
estate of Hillcrest in Milton, then a considerable distance from 
town, a large estate with driveways under arching elms, with 
a rambling house dating from the forties. The Apley children, 
when at Hillcrest, were under their mother's serene and care- 
ful guidance. It was she who gave them their taste for litera- 
ture and directed their attention to the saner beauties of coun- 
try life. It was there that they began to form friendships and 
associations which remained with them as an unaltering legacy. 
The Calders with their five children dwelt upon the right, and 
the Bromfield children on the left, so that, altogether, these 
three families made a noisy group of boys and girls who wan- 
dered over their common acres in a rare childhood kingdom. 

All who knew her have united in the opinion that Elizabeth 
Apley, the young mistress of Hillcrest, was a person of out- 
standing character. Not alone a competent and practical house- 


keeper, whose calm hand controlled every branch of the es- 
tablishment, from the stables and kitchen to the nursery, she 
was careful as well to cultivate the leisure, to continue the de- 
velopment of a painstaking education. Her sensibility to 
literature was very marked. Several of her poems, among them 
"Blue Hill at Eventide" found their way into print in the 
pages of the Atlantic Monthly, and show the accuracy of her 
keen reaction to the New England landscape. "Blue Hill at 
Eventide" is the description of Blue Hill in that hour just 
before the twilight of cool October. It speaks of that clarity 
of air and of the local perfection of silence through which the 
faintest noises of the southern-going bird come so distinctly 
to the ear. The simplicity and finality of her last line is pe- 
culiarly effective: "And may our voices, too, rise up so true 
to God." 

The accomplishments of the young mother were not solely 
confined to verse. Hunt himself has spoken highly of her skill 
at water-color sketching, and several of these works of hers, 
in the hall at Hillcrest, prove that he did not wholly exag- 
gerate. Also, she never gave up her music. George Apley has 
often spoken of the hour before his bedtime, as a child, when 
the notes of the piano directed by his mother's fingers winged 
through the house. Religion, pure Unitarianjsm, was also a 
part of the Hillcrest life, for both the Apleys and the Han- 
cocks had been converted to its New England intellectualism. 
It was to be expected, with such a mother, that conversation 
should have been on a high plane, but her interests did not 
end there. She was careful also that each of her children should 
engage in a practical avocation. Each child at Hillcrest had a 
small square of garden, devoted not only to flowers, but to 
vegetables, and each child was held strictlv accountable for the 


care of his or her garden plot. This was probably the reason 
for George Apley's interest in flowers, which brought him 
finally to the vice-presidency of the Boston Horticultural 

The clear tranquil beauty of Elizabeth Hancock Apley, com- 
bined with her unvarying graciousness as a hostess, with her 
never-failing interest in the affairs of others, and with the 
charm which she could give to a world seen through her own 
intelligence, made her parlor throughout her life a meeting 
ground for exceptional men and women. A Sunday afternoon 
would customarily find the best conversation of Boston around 
oer tea table. Dr. Horsford would frequently be there, em- 
broidering on his interesting theory regarding the settlement 
made by Leif Ericson at Norumbega on the Charles River. 
The fine face of Charles Eliot Norton was often seen, and 
Child and Shaler of Harvard, and Celia Thaxter, the poetess, 
and Mrs. Julia Ward Howe whose "Battle Hymn of the 
Republic" trumpets down the corridors of time. By her magic 
Mrs. Apley could cause the peculiar talent of each to be given 
forth for the benefit of all with no other stimulation than the 
cup that cheers but does not inebriate. Her capacity for friend- 
ship, which drew so many around her, drew among others 
Nathan Pettingill, the brilliant young minister of the local 
Unitarian Church. From the association of these two eager in- 
telligences a friendship finally blossomed and was terminated 
only by death, one of those friendships of the spirit, rare in 
other pans of the world, but with many parallels in this con- 
genial atmosphere. The character and understanding of the 
husband, Thomas Apley, concealed from so many beneath a 
cool and somewhat austere exterior, manifested itself in the 
complete trust and comprehension, akin to a deep pride, with 


which he observed the activities of his wife. Modest always of 
his own attainments, in spite of the weight which his word was 
given in State Street, Thomas Apley would sit, during such 
afternoons, an intent and generally a silent listener. 

The Apley children, two little girls in their new white pina- 
fores, and young George in a tight brown jacket the style 
of their dress is apparent from an early photograph were 
encouraged to share such occasions with their parents. In the 
democracy of this family there was no barrier of age, and so 
the children were led into the drawing-room of a Sunday after- 
noon, where, after shaking hands and exchanging remarks with 
whoever might be present, they were placed in a silent row 
upon the sofa, obeying the maxim that "children should be 
seen and not heard." It was Elizabeth Apley's oft-expressed 
belief that their offspring should assume with the parents a 
part of the responsibility for the teatime entertainment. Thus, 
at some propitious moment during the afternoon, the mothei 
might call upon one of the little daughters for a snatch of song, 
which she herself accompanied sympathetically at the piano. 
On other occasions, little George would be called to render 
some dramatic recitation, perhaps a few humorous lines of 
Lowell, or again, Burke's famous speech on the American 
Revolution, ending on the ringing words "You cannot conquer 
America!" This declamation was taught him by his father, 
painstakingly, with the appropriate gestures. George Apley 
has contributed a brief account of one of these scenes, which 
gives something of their flavor. 

It is no small ordeal for a boy of seven to stand up before 
his elders and to deliver a declamation. How my voice would 
shake at the beginning! And I can remember the attentive 
silence which greeted me. Father would sit watching me, 


stroking his black side-whiskers. Mother would watch me, 
too, now and then exchanging a glance with Mr. Pettingill, 
whom we called "Uncle Nathaniel." There is one occasion 
which sticks in my mind as though it were yesterday. I had 
eaten very heavily of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and 
was not feeling well, when Father said: "George, stand up 
and give Burke's Speech." I started out mechanically, but 
when I got to the part about the savages I stopped and my 
stomach seemed to turn about. Father rose quietly and took 
my hand. "George," he said, "come with me." As I went up- 
stairs I told him I felt sick. Father's reply was the right one. 
"You must learn to do a great many things that you don't 
want," he said. "Now let us go over this so that you may get 
the end correctly." 

Other more informal hours were spent at Hillcrest in the 
company of Tim, the coachman. His learning consisted almost 
entirely of Irish folktales, concerned with black ghosts and 
white ghosts and banshees. Sometimes in the kitchen Bridget, 
the cook, would sing snatches of ballads. One in particular 
dealt with a fiery-tempered young man who went walking with 
the girl of his choice down an Irish lane. For some reason 
which George Apley could not understand, this young man 
suddenly hit his sweetheart over the head with a club, and 
threw her body behind the thorn hedge. Later, on his return 
home, the girPs sister had him tried for murder, and the ballad 
ended "And well she might, for she knew the night, when I 
took her sister out." Since this ballad-narrative puzzled young 
George he went to the one source he knew, where the puzzle 
might be resolved; his mother. After listening carefully, Eliz^ 
abeth Apley brought him to the library, where his father was 
arranging books, and there George repeated the story. Thomas 


Apley also listened carefully and made no comment, but 
Bridget thereafter lost her gift of song. 

These details of the life at Hillcrest may seem of small 
importance, but out of such trivial incidents are woven the 
fabric of a life. This is proved by George Apley's own letters 
to his friend Rhodora Calder, which he wrote her some forty 
years later. Despite the lapse of time, they give a vivid pic- 
ture, sometimes grave and sometimes gay, of the fine free 
life which a child could lead. We cannot leave the Hillcrest 
days without including a few excerpts. 

Dear Rhodora: 

Hester tells me that you are not feeling well, and so your 
old friend Georgie Porgie writes you. 1 remember a girl he 
kissed who did not cry, behind the hedge, near the hotbeds 
and the brook, after we had been playing "Deerfield Mas- 
sacre." You had been frightened when Joe Bromfield scalped 
you, do you remember? 1 think of those days a good deal 
now, and I wish I might get as far as Mattapoisett so that you 
and Charles and I might laugh at them together. How closely 
our little crowd has always stuck to each other! 1 think that 
is one of the fine things about Milton the way childhood 
friendships last. Dear me, it doesn't seem so long ago. Do 
you remember the suppers in the nursery when you used to 
come to play dolls with Amelia and Jane? Do you remember 
the games of hide-and-seek we used to play in the upper hall, 
and the time Grandmama hid me behind her dress when she 
sat in her rocker, knitting? Poor old lady, I had been for- 
bidden to go in there, because she was not well, you know. 
She called me "Little Tom," she thought I was my father. 
And do you remember your good old Newfoundland, Tony? 
The way his tongue lolled out of his black muzzle, like a 
piece of red flannel; and Wash, your colored coachman 


do you remember how he used to sing "Swing Low, Sweet 
Chariot" when he sat in the harness-room? 

Are children always like our crowd, do you suppose? It 
seems a little ironical how much of our culture seemed to 
come from the stable and the kitchen when we had such op- 
nortunities to meet the greatest figures of our time. But 
grown-ups were something else, weren't they? The dark gods 
who ruled the world, but our world was not theirs. . . . 

Dear Rhodora: 

Your answer to my scrawl of the other day bearing with it 
your own impressions of that distant time has blazed a path 
far backward in my memory. To plagiarize from Emerson: 
the daughters of time, the hypocritic Days, have taken my 
hand and led me backward down that path to the old Milton, 
of which you and I are really the most pleasant exponents. 
No wonder that Milton absorbs so much of the thoughts of 
everyone who was brought up there. The shadow of Blue 
Hill lies deeper than the charm of Brookline. The Thayers 
may have their Lancaster and the Storrows their Lincoln, 
and all the rest their other favourite bits of domain, bdt we 
Apleys and Bromfields and Calders know they are, not Mil- 

Yes, I remember very weH the day I ran away from my 
nurse, Norah. I stood on my own two legs that day until 
Corcoran, the gardener, finally found me, catching polliwogs 
in the swamp. Yes, Rhodora, I remember how we got kero- 
sene over ourselves in the lamp room ; and I remember Sun- 
days too they were not as pleasant at our house as they 
were at yours. We were all more afraid of Father on Sunday 
than on any other day of the week. He was larger and more 
silent then. Father could laugh loudly enough, he could even 
play, on weekdays, but not on Sunday and neither could we 


children. After breakfast Father would summon me to the 
library. He would want to know everything which I had done 
and learned during the week, and then would talk to me on 
some interesting subject on which I suspect he had prepared 
himself the night before. Perhaps it would be Mr. Darwin's 
Theory of Evolution, or again a snatch of Roman History. 
When all this was over, Mother and the girls and Father and 
I would mount in the carryall for the ride to the Church at 
Milton Corners. The hour and a half at Church was a period 
of complete quiescence and, must I say it frankly, an interval 
of such boredom as I have never known since. 

You must have felt it too, Rhodora, because I remember 
you across the aisle, and I remember that Church smell. What 
made it, do you suppose: I think it had something to do with 
the building which had been closed during the week. There 
was that aura rising from pew cushions and hymn books 
mingling with the scent of flowers about the pulpit and laven- 
der and camphor from the clothing of the congregation. Do 
you remember how the silk dresses rustled when everyone 
stood up with a sound something like the leaves in autumn? 
without the wildnesb of the leaves. Do you remember the 
hats and bustles' I used to wish that Mr. PettingiU would 
not keep making us jump up to sing the hymns and make 
responses. Every tune we were comfortably settled it would 
be his pleasure to make us move. Then there was a period ot 
standing close to Mother's skirts, but not so close as to step 
on them, while all the dark people of the grown-up world 
stood talking. Then there was the drive home again, and Sun- 
day dinner with Sunday guests. Oh well, so much for Sun- 
day, and now I come to the strangest thing about it I 
would give half of what 1 possess to be back at Hillcrest on 
one of those Sundays if I could have the assurance of living 
into a Monday morning. How I have run on 1 Your letter is 


to blame for it, Rhodora. It has given me the will of speech. 
You must get well soon and join us at Hillcrest. Catherine 
has just come in this minute from her dressing room, and has 
asked me to whom I am writing. She joins her love with 
mine and her hope with me that all is well with you. . . . 

The feelings expressed in this letter are such as have no last- 
ing significance. For the last twenty years of his life, George 
Apley was a pewholder in King's Chapel, where he attended 
services regularly each winter. 

"There is nothing," he once wrote to his son, "like the dis- 
cipline of Church. It is a fine thing for the spirit. 1 cannot see 
why you do not understand this." 

The scenes and the hours of Hillcrest, which were to play 
such a continued part in George Apley's life, were occasionally 
interrupted in his boyhood by visits to other members of the 
family, particularly to his Aunt Jane Brent, who lived of course 
In that charming community of ,the Brents, on Pachogue Neck 
on Buzzards Bay. The theater of his life was already broaden- 
ing, and with it the field of his human contacts. One gains a 
sense of this and an impression of a boy's naive enthusiasm in 
a letter which he wrote to his mother from his Aunt and Uncle 
Brent's in the summer of 1 874. This is among the earliest of 
George Apley's letters. It is done in the careful, copybook 
hand that speaks well for the discipline of Hobson's School in 

Dear Mamma: 

I am very well. I hope you are well. I have brushed my 
teeth every night and said my prayers. I play all day with 
all my cousins. 1 like the sea. Uncle Horatio has a sailbbat. 
He has a doe:, too, and a goat that pulls a cart. We press 


flowers in the dictionary. Can Father send me ten cents? 
With love . . . 

This letter was evidently referred to Thomas Apley, for his 
reply has been kept with it. 

My dear little man: 

Here is your ten-cent piece and do not forget that this is a 
good deal of money. Think of it this way: it can buy ten lead 
pencils or two tops and a string, or enough candy to make 
you very ill. Please try to think carefully exactly what you 
want, before you spend it, because there is no satisfaction as 
great as spending wisely, and few annoyances as great as 
feeling that money has been wasted. I am glad you like the 


On other occasions he was sent to visit the family of his 
maternal uncle, Henry Hancock, at Nahant, and again we 
have a letter, written in the summer of 1876. 

Dear Mamma: 

I hope you are well. I hope everybody is well. I am well. 
I like Uncle Henry. He makes me laugh. I like Aunt Mabel, 
too. She is fat. My Cousin Tom and 1 go fishing off the rocks. 
Uncle Henry plays cards. When is Father coming to get me? 
With love . . . 

This letter was answered by Elizabeth Hancock Apley. 

My dearest little son: 

You are getting to be a big boy now. You must grow used 
to seeing some things of which your parents do not entirely 
approve. If your Uncle Henry plays cards you know he has a 
perfect right. I have not the slightest objection except I think 


that card playing is a waste of time. That is why your Father 
and I do not play cards. I am glad your Uncle Henry makes 
you laugh. There is nothing like a good joke. There is only 
one thing in your letter I am sorry for. It is not right to make 
remarks on the appearance of other people, particularly of 
your dear relations. Your Aunt Mabel would be very sorry 
if she were to think that you had written of her stoutness. Your 
dear father will come to take you home in the steam cars on 
Monday. . . . 



Further Glimpses 

Toward the Broadening Horizon of 
Custom and Environment 

THUS ONE sees that the world of George Apley is al 
ready growing broader. This correspondence opens vi- 
cariously, to the reader, a quiet world of mind and order. Al- 
ready this world was reaching for George Apley, as it has 
reached for all its children, tying him by invisible bonds to this 
person and to that, directing him in his tastes and his associa- 
tions, and offering him a particular position which was his by 
right of birth. 

To those of us who know it and are a part of it there is noth- 
ing unnatural in the preoccupation of a Bostonian with his en- 
vironment j for order so lamentably lacking in other cities 
tends to make him so completely at home and so contented 
with his social group that he is unhappy in any other. Starting 
with the nucleus of the family and its immediate friends, and 
next to it the school attended by these same contemporaries, 
he finally reaches the dancing class, and then the Thursday 
afternoons, and next the Friday evenings. A young girl will 
be introduced into society and will join the Sewing Circle of 


her year j a boy will be taken into his father's Club at Harvard 
There is a simplicity in this procedure which emanates, I think, 
from the laudable similarity of ideas which makes up Boston 
life. These ideas have their foundation on the firm substratum 
of common sense which runs back to the beginnings of our 
colonial founders. This common sense, combined with an ap- 
preciation of what is truly fine, has given us a stability and a 
genuine society in a chaotic, nervous nation. If this society has 
moulded an individual in conformation to its principles, I, for 
one, cannot see why this is a deplorable situation, as every hu- 
man being must conform to the social demands of his group, 
whatever that group may be. If George Apley failed to meet 
certain challenges, let us admit that we all have failed in some 
respects, and let us remember that we stand together pecul- 
iarly as one large family. Collectively, in habits and ideals, 
our group is a family group where kinship, however distant, 
stretches into the oddest corners. 

In the winter home of Thomas Apley the boy George found 
himself exposed, however indirectly, to the events surround- 
ing the active life of his father, which differed from the culti- 
vated leisure of Hillcrest. By regular habits of life he was 
made to feel his own responsibility and he was aware, though 
vaguely, of the unsettled events of that period so aptly named 
by the recent writer, Claude Bowers, "The Tragic Era." The 
unpleasant affair of the Credit Mobilier and the "Black Fri- 
day" on the New York Stock Exchange could not help being 
reflected, to an observant boy, in his father's face and manner. 
Thomas Apley, like every other New England industrialist, 
was piloting his craft through difficult financial waters, where 
politics not infrequently were lashed to banking. Thus it was 
George Apley's privilege to meet, during his boyhood at his 


father's house in Beacon Street, figures from the world of 
practical affairs and politics who differed in some essen- 
tials from the leaders of scholarship and letters who sought 
the companionship of his mother. 

"1 wish," he once wrote, "that I could better have appreci- 
ated the value of these side-whiskered gentlemen in their talJ 
silk hats. I can only recall most of them as tall, heavy-set 
strangers, whose faces shared the stern resolution of my 
father's own expression. Yet vague though they seem to me 
to-day, they had a vitality which I cannot forget. They are a 
type which is not seen in Boston at present. I often wonder 
where their kind has gone." 

As is true with nearly every man of property, the political 
convictions of Thomas Apley were essentially conservative, 
and of a sort which confined themselves principally to the needs 
of the textile industry and to the industrial growth and pros- 
perity of New England. He was, from the course of events, 
an ardent Protectionist, particularly for leather and textile 
products. Although he never coveted any political office, his 
influence which was greater than many knew was always 
thrown on the side which he considered would best further 
New England development; and thus he was a liberal con- 
tributor to the Republican Campaign Fund. His eminent good 
sense in these matters is illustrated by an extract from a letter 
to his brother William. 

You appear worried for the aptitude shown here by "Paddy" 
in politics. I cannot share this alarm ; instead I am quite willing 
that he should interest himself in municipal affairs as long 
as there is a firm hand at the top, which is I am sure the case 
at present. What concerns me more is your account of an ele- 
ment in Apley Falls that is giving wrong ideas to our mil] 


labour. I hope you will soon get the names of the moving 
spirits and send them packing. 

Referring to this further issue of stock, I think matters are 
going very nicely, but 1 beg you to leave the arrangement en- 
tirely to me. If these Wall Street men press any further de- 
mands, I think they will be sorry. I have, by the way, pur- 
chased a few thousand shares in young Agassiz's copper mine. 
This was partly out of friendship to the family of the great 
naturalist for, as you know, I do not think much of mining 
speculation. However, it has elements which might interest 

I am seeing H. to-morrow and G. and I am confident that 
everything will go well in that direction. That block of hold- 
ings is absolutely sound, an insurance for the future, and 1 
think we would be wrong in entertaining any offer, however 
attractive. . . . 

This is a glimpse, perhaps too intimate, into the lifework of 
one of the most active and respected men of his generation. It 
displays excellently the serene, practical capability of the father 
ind throws an amusing sidelight on the early history of the 
Calumet and Hecla mines, which were to do so much for the 
prosperity of Boston. The astuteness of Agassiz was eminently 
congenial to Apley, and reminds me of a story which Thomas 
Apley once told his son George and myself when we called at 
his house one Sunday. 

On an occasion some Harvard students went to great pains 
to construct an insect for a naturalist which had never been 
seen on earth, air, or water. They used the thorax of one species, 
the wings of another, the legs of a third, and the antennae of 
* fourth. When the professor was confronted with the final 
result, and was asked what it might be, he smiled. 


"I think," he said, "that it is called the humbug." 
This story is an example of Thomas Apley in one of his 
lighter moods, which have perhaps been too much neglected, 
One must not forget that life in those days had its own modi- 
cum of robust gayety. One may obtain a glimpse of it, if one is 
interested, from the pages of the little book entitled "Rollo 
in Cambridge," published at that time, a satire which is full 
of laughter. Nor must we forget Lucretia Hale's inimitable 
satire of the time, the "Peterkin Papers," which deal with the 
mirth-making vagaries of the Peterkin family which were 
surely parodies of her own flesh and blood and the practical 
Lady from Philadelphia, who rescued them from so many 
difficult situations. Yes, the generation of the seventies had 
its moments of rollicking amusement. Their own long friend 
ships with each other, dating also from childhood, enabled 
them to unbend at times and to be almost children again. 
Parties of charades, dealing with abstruse words amazingly 
acted, and games of quotations did more than test their intel- 
lectual skill of an evening. On such occasions there was an 
undertone of carefree- merriment and friendliness that we 
youngsters now growing old have never been able to recap- 
ture. Then there were the outdoor days, the afternoons of 
skating on Jamaica Pond and the afternoons of coasting on 
some friendly hill. 1 have seen with my own eyes Elizabeth 
Apley, dressed in her grandmother's made-over woolens, coast- 
ing down the slope at Hillcrest boy-fashion, and enjoying it 
as much as the rest of us. George Apley himself has spoken of 
long peals of mirth coming through the closed doors of the 
dining-room when his father and his guests sat alone after 
dinner. Thomas Apley was in his office frequently at seven in 
the morning, and did not return home until the children's bed- 


time; thus Iris real impression on the family must have been 
shadowy, as George Apley has suggested but it was an all- 
embracing shadow. 

His ninth year saw George Apley established at Hobson'a 
School on Marlborough Street, that institution which so many 
of us have to thank for our early education. In it he met the 
scions of his own social class, in it he cemented many of the 
friendships which were to endure through life. It was there 
that the present writer himself met George Apley. 

It may be well to give a brief description of Hobson's School, 
for it is an institution which 1 regret to say is passing. 1 regret, 
because it had so many of the essentials of high thought and 
plain living. It had few playgrounds and not much fresh air, 
but these were replaced by wholesome, undeviating discipline. 
The school was housed in the two lower floors in Mr. Hobson's 
own dwelling, in rooms bare except for desks and blackboards. 
The presiding genius was Mr. Hobson himself, "Old 
Hobby," we called him, a stiff, melancholy man, with black 
sideburns and stern gray eyes. His dress was unvaried, a black 
Prince Albert coat, black cravat, and a pair of noiseless Con- 
gress boots. He had two assistants who had recently graduated 
from Harvard ; one, a Mr. Weems, had the first two classes 
under his particular charge. This Weems was somewhat of a 
dandy; to our simple and censorious eyes his cravats and his 
waistcoats had a dash of immorality, and of a Saturday after- 
noon he would ride a high-wheeled bicycle. The second master 
seemed to us a tall, fine giant because he had rowed on the 
Harvard crew. Later, he had attended Oxford for a year, and 
this had given him an accent and a manner which excited our 
secret amusement especially as we Considered, so incorrectly, 
that the British were our hereditary enemies. In the savage 


humor of childhood we nicknamed this master "John Bull 
Godfrey" and secretly used to imitate his voice and walk. 

George Apley shared with the rest of us the perpetual mis- 
chievousness of boyhood, though not an unwholesome mis- 
chievousness. A sprightly, likeable force in George Aj^ley, 
perhaps suppressed at home, ha4 a freer rein in Mr. Hobson's 
school and gained for him among the rest of the pupils a dis- 
tinct degree of respect. In his dealing with constituted author- 
ity he was a past master of sophistry, and possessed a very ac- 
curate sense of that difficult limit where transgressions cannot 
be overlooked but must be punished. This writer, his schoolboy 
friend, is able to recall a single amusing instance. 

Mr. Hobson, during the hours of school, had laid down the 
law that there must be no whistling or disturbance on the stairs 
or halls as the boys walked from one classroom to another. On 
one occasion when George and I were walking up the stairs, 
George began to whistle. The ubiquitous Mr. Hobson, as was 
his custom on such occasions, descended upon us out of no- 

"Apley ," he said, "I heard you whistling." 

"No, Mr. Hobson," George answered, "I was not whistling, 
I was sissling. 1 know that it is wrong to whistle in the hall, 
but no one had told me that it was wrong to sissle." 

As one views Mr. Hobson from the perspective of age, it 
is interesting to reflect what his real reaction must have been 
to this remark. 

It is such encounters as these, I verily believe, absurd as they 
may be to the ears of an adult, that play an important part 
in the triumphs of a boy. Such adventures add to his self- 
confidence and to his knowledge of human nature. There is 
another, of which George Apley himself speaks, in a paper 


which he once read before the Monday Club, not very origi 
nally entitled "Memories of a Boston Boyhood." 

There is one adventure in Mr. Hobson's school in which 
I can take no pride, and to which I have not alluded for a 
great many years, although it sometimes returns still to my 
thoughts in the watches of the night. 

Once a week at Mr. Hobson's school there would come be- 
fore us a being who had never obtruded into our ken until that 
time. He was a wanderer upon our shores, a Frenchman whose 
name had been anglicized to "Mr. Treete," who gave us les- 
sons in his language. I do not know what there is about a 
Frenchman which seems mvanably to amuse young Anglo- 
Saxon savages. I only know that Mr. Treete's tight waist and 
dainty leather shoes, his difficulties with our idiom, his un- 
tarying politeness and his volatile temperament, made most 
of us giggle and laugh and play, as did the children who saw 
:he larnb that followed Mary to school. Poor Mr. Treete pos- 
sessed no powers of discipline, and we soon had an instinctive 
sense of this defect, so that every scholar in Mr. Hobson's 
school set out to make the life of this poor polite scion of a 
cultivated nation as miserable as possible. To my greatest shame 
I must confess that 1 was a leader in this movement. With the 
ikill of a Chinese torturer 1 would think of ways to goad the 
poor man to the limit of his endurance, and finally I drove him 
beyond the limit. I did so by the composition of a little poem, 
the doggerel of which still is with me 

Mr. Treete, he has big feet, 
And all he eats is boiled wheat. 

Tbis for some reason reacted so strongly on Mr. Treete 
that he drew me out of my chair, dragged me before the class, 
tnd boxed my ears This humiliation was richly deserved, but it 


occurred at an unpropitious moment. Just as Mr. Treete's 
hand descended on my ear the door of the classroom opened, 
disclosing Mr. Hobson and my father, who had come to 
honour the school with a visit. The frown on my father's face 
was like that on the brow of Jove before he cast a thunder- 

"What is this man doing with George, Mr. Hobson?" he 

I shall draw the veil over the final explanations. When they 
were over, Father sent me home in the carnage with orders to 
go to bed, and when I returned to school, <t was to discover 
that Mr. Treete was no longer with us. 

The same afternoon Father sent for me to visit him at his 
office on State Street, the first time that 1 had ever laid eyes 
on this establishment. I remember the clerks standing at theii 
ledgers and the huge safe and the great iron letterpresses and 
Father's private offices, distinguished by a fine soft coal fire 
in the grate and, save the mark! a large brass cuspidor for 
visitors 1 am sure, because my father never chewed. 

"George," my father said, "your mischief has caused a great 
deal of trouble and misfortune. Mr. Treete, of course, hat* 
been obliged to leave Mr. Hobson's school ; you have cost him 
his position. 1 hope you are very sorry." Truthfully, I had 
never been so sorry in my life for anything. 1 did not see why 
Mr. Treete had been obliged to leave, and 1 told Father so. 
His answer was characteristic of the older generation to the 
younger. "You are too young to understand," he said, and that 
was all. I can still only conjecture; 1 still do not understand. 

Thus it is that a childhood life is filled full of imponderables. 
There are many things which a child does not understand, and 
I am not sure that the attitude of our fathers, of refusing to 
discuss certain matters with their young, was not fully as whole 


some as the frank and detailed explanations which are retailed 
to the child of the present. It must be an open question, which 
is the more confusing to a young mind, the explanation or the 
silence. Personally 1 prefer the latter; George Apley, like the 
rest of us, was obliged to cope with the silence and to put his 
trust into the maturer knowledge of another generation. At any 
rate boys were no different in our days from what they are 
at present. 

The accusation of snobbery has been leveled at a certain sec- 
tion of our society so frequently that one is reminded of the 
proverb that where there is smoke there must be fire. It is true 
that a stranger coming to Boston, without the proper introduc- 
tions or family connections, unless he is an Englishman or a 
Frenchman is apt to receive a somewhat perfunctory reception* 
Nevertheless, this noticeable trait, of which one hears so many 
strangers complain loudly, is due neither to pride in family nor 
to pride in intellectual attainments. We have alluded before 
to that final factor which, one must admit, does tend to close 
the door of careless social facility. It is the intense congeniality 
of our own society which has its inception in a unique com- 
munity of ideas resulting in a common attitude toward life. 
When the individuals of one group find a complete peace and 
happiness and fulfillment in the association with one another, 
why should they look farther? This, I think, explains an evi- 
dent but completely wholesome element of our self-satisfaction. 
It explains also our many marriages between our childhood 
friends and cousins. It explains why so many residents of 
Boston flock together when abroad, instinctively seeking the 
relaxation gained from each other when confronted with an 
tlien environment why Boston has her own hotel in New 
York City and in London and on the right bank of the Seine, 


Yet, let us repeat, this congeniality bears in it no element of 
superiority toward or of dislike for the world around it. 

Once admittance is gained inside this circle, one encounters 
the democracy of trust and friendship in its finest flower. It is 
manifested by a serene assurance that discounts the externals of 
dress and, indeed, of income. This explanation tedious 
though it may be, and one already consciously felt, if not con- 
sciously analyzed, by all who read these pages is an explana- 
tion for the unusual emphasis one places on George Apley's 
boyhood acquaintances, for these must inevitably become the 
friends of youth, the pillars of manhood, and the props of de- 
clining years. It furnishes also an explanation for the intimacy 
of nomenclature, and why the nickname of the school day has 
followed so many of us down the sunset path. 

Unlike Gaul, the pupils attending Mr. Hobson's school may 
be divided into two groups: those who shared our background, 
and those who did not. We will concern ourselves with this first 
group primarily j and chief among them 1 shall mention 
George Apley's friend and contemporary, Winthrop Vassal. 
The name in itself describes his family the Loyalist branch 
of the Tory Vassals, so many of whom left Boston for Halifax 
at the time of the Revolutionary War. Let us hasten to add that 
distinguished ancestors did not turn Winthrop's head, then 
or on any other occasion. He was a snub-nosed, reddish-haired, 
freckle-faced schoolboy who never lost the divine merriment of 
his youth. "Winty" Vassal, the life of our class and our Club 
at Harvard, the toastmaster and inimitable story teller at our 
class reunions, has ever maintained that fresh interest in youth, 
His imitation of the Irish conductor in the Brookline car, 
slightly mellowed by potations, is as side-splitting to the young- 
sters to-day as it is to us oldsters. 


"Chick" Chickering was another of our group, musical even 
then, who has since distinguished himself for his studies in the 
art of English bell-ringing. Indeed, as one looks back at Mr. 
Hobson's school, one may take a pardonable pride in the later 
accomplishments of so many of our friends. "Tweaker" Sewall, 
who could catapult a spitball more surreptitiously and accu- 
rately than any boy at school, is Sewall, the surgeon, who de- 
veloped a new and successful technique for the removal of the 
gall bladder. The voice of Tom Partridge, whom we knew 
for no good reason as "Daisy," has been heard for many years 
in pleadings before the Supreme Court at Washington. Geof- 
frey Broughton, whom George Apley once referred to as 
"Bookworm" Broughton, a name which was later contracted 
to "Wormy," is now known for his exhaustive study "The 
Massachusetts Fishing Fleet Before the Civil War." We may 
mention also George Apley's cousin, Horatio Brent, whose 
advice and loyalty have done so much to ensure the success of 
the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and his second cousin Na- 
thaniel Apley, the collector of the "North of Boston Colonial 
Letters," which this writer had the pleasure of publishing and 

These were our particular intimates at Mr. Hobson's school, 
and we have stayed together ever since as a little band. There 
were others not many who, 1 regret to say, have been 
less fortunate. Kindness compels one to skip briefly over the 
subsequent career of Jonas Walker, whom we knew in our 
school days as "Mike," and who later was fullback on our 
Harvard football team. His lurid affair with one of the danc- 
ing girls in "Floradora" is still a matter of talk as is his disap- 
pearance to Chicago and his return thence to New York. Yet 
through all these vicissitudes George Apley remained his stead 


fast friend, ready always to defend old "Mickey" from what 
he considered, wrongly, unjust censure. One must include in 
this same category the most brilliant, though erratic of our com- 
panions, Henry Joyce, the head boy at Hobson's, who was the 
first of his class to enter the Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard. What 
might have been a brilliant and successful career has been 
clouded by an unbalanced preoccupation over social injustices. 
Garrison-like, he has dissipated his notable abilities in an un- 
balanced espousal of various lost causes, which led to his arrest 
while picketing the State House in the unfortunate Sacco- 
Vanzetti dispute, and again while assisting the agitator 
Mencken in his struggle against the Watch and Ward Society. 
These brief sketches, treated more frankly and informally than 
they would be in another type of work, and with the complete 
confidence that they will be read only by friendly eyes, may 
serve to show that the personnel of Mr. Hobson's school was 
an adequate cross-section of our world. If one could adjust one- 
self to this environment, it was surely safe to assert that aftei- 
life would not present the problem which it might have had 
one's life been more sheltered. In this instance George Apley's 
efforts at adjustment appear to have been easy and natural, as 
excerpts from his diary illustrate. This was one of the sporadic 
diaries which he kept at the instance of his mother, who offered 
him a tangible reward for making regular entries. She realized, 
as she said herself, that the discipline and perspective gained by 
even the brief jotting-down of the day's events were valuable 
to character. 

"I know," she once wrote to her son, while pleading with 
him to continue his diary during his Freshman year at Har- 
vard, "that a diary may have its disadvantages. It may be an 
unpleasant breeder of egotism, my dear, though I like to think 


that egotism is not strong in your father's family or in mine. 
Yet if one recognizes this difficulty, it will surely conquer itself. 
A diary will make you able to "know thyself. " Furthermore, 
when your mother reads it she will not be so far away from the 
interests of her own dear son." 

Bostoriy Monday, 1879. Damp, chilly, rainy. I went to 
school. I missed in Latin. I wish I had a football. Amelia got 
mad this afternoon. Father put a blot of ink on her nose when 
she came home, he says it is the way to punish girls. I wish he 
would punish me that way. 

Tuesday. Sunny and cold. Going home from school there 
were some toughs. Mike fought one of them. Then Jane and 
I played "lotto." There are too many girls, I wish I had a 

Saturday. No school. Horatio and I played in his back yard. 
We started walking back-yard fences. You can go a long way 
on fences. Old Mrs. Burridge opened a window and told us 
to get off. In the afternoon "Tweaker" came over to see me. 
We made such a noise that Father came out of the library 
and told us to stop. 

Sunday. Father talked to me about Romulus and Remus, 
then we went to church, then Dr. Holmes and a professor from 
Harvard, I don't know his name, and some other people came 
to dinner. Amelia and I got giggling and she had to leave the 
room. Then Great-Aunt Jane came to tea, and she gave me 
ten cents. And that is all, except the Bible Game. 

Wednesday. Snowing. We go to Hillcrest to-morrow for 

In keeping with the Puritan tradition, one is not surprised 
to find that the Apley family, like so many others of the Cal- 
vinist extraction, observed Thanksgiving with a greater punc* 


tiLousness than Christmas, that former "Popish holiday' 1 once 
so inveighed against in Boston. One finds, indeed, that only 
community pressure finally weaned Thomas Apley away from 
the good old custom of his fathers the giving of gifts on the 
New Year instead of on the Yuletide; but always through his 
lifetime that essentially New England day, Thanksgiving, was 
the high festival of the year, combining as it did pious thanks 
for plenty which the year had bestowed and a refurbishing of 
family ties. The group around the Hillcrest board was some- 
times forty strong, composed of many branches of the Apley 
line whose members would not appear at Hillcrest for another 
year. Near the head of the board, in George Apley's childhood, 
would be seated his father's surviving brothers and sisters 
with the exception of Edward Apley, whom an unfortunate 
nervous complaint, bordering on hallucination, prevented from 
attending the family function. Until her death in 1875, George 
Apley's grandmother, for whom the brig Pretty Pearl had 
been named so long ago, occupied the seat of honor at her son's 
right hand, and a toast of cider for the youngsters and Madeira 
for the grown-ups was always drunk to her, standing. Though 
the old lady's mind was failing in these latter years, she in- 
variably enjoyed these family meetings j and one has the pic- 
ture of her, in her neat lace cap, beaming down the length of 
the dining-room table, and out to the smaller tables in the 
parlor beyond. It has been said that the plenty of the feast 
sometimes disturbed her to the extent of her asking her son, 
Thomas, if he was quite sure that he could afford this extrav- 
agant outlay, and often she cautioned those near her to be spar- 
ing in the use of sugar. There is a story told of her on one of 
these festive occasions that displays the vagaries of a dear old 
lady's mind as it groped through the dark avenues Af the past 


Once, it is said, when the Reverend Nathaniel Pettingill, who 
always attended these dinners to ask the blessing, was assisting 
her upstairs, she turned to him with this remark: 

"Young man, should you ever go blackbirding, be sure to 
select Negroes that #re brought down from the mountains, 
they are stronger and healthier than the Blacks from the coast." 

Where she may have picked up this stray bit of information 
was sometimes an interesting source of speculation in the more 
intimate family circle. But Thomas Apley assured his son 
George, and once assured the writer, that the remark was 
gennane to certain incidents in old Salem shipping days but 
had little or nothing to do with the Apleys* former mercantile 

Close beside this "last leaf on the tree" there sat her sister, 
Jane, a brown-eyed, determined old lady, whose wit was pun- 
gent and quick and who was credited with a predilection for 
:ertain bits of scandalous gossip which had better have gone 
with their subjects to the grave. Once, in later years, she 
shocked the table with an incredible tale of illegitimacy and a 
forced marriage in a distant branch of the family, which caused 
a pall of surprise and embarrassment to hover over the entire 
table. In all justice, one must add that such indiscretions were 
of the rarest. The younger generation, quite surprising in its 
numbers, occupied small tables in the parlor, where merriment 
sometimes rose to a pitch that obliged Thomas Apley to take 
a hand. 

Such is a glimpse of another childhood scene, which must be 
dear to all that boast a New England heritage. The gastro- 
nomic demands of this single day were at times immense, for 
family obligations frequently obliged guests to look in on other 
dinners of collateral branches, so that the sight of that noble 


bird the turkey, and his attendant collection of pies, was fre- 
quently anathema for weeks thereafter. 

These childhood diaries of George Apley, of which we have 
given a brief sample only to show their quality, are obviously 
not worthy of quotation in themselves, except in so far as they 
give a light of reminiscence. 

December 15. Went to dancing school and had to sit with 
the girls. 

Here is truly a segment of boyhood, which cannot fail but 
hold memories, fond or otherwise, for all of George Apley's 
contemporaries, for Papanti's Dancing School was as much a 
part of the life of the time as the lectures and the evening class. 
It was to Signor Papanti's that George Apley and the rest of us 
repaired, whether we would or no, to be taught the graceful 
intricacies of the waltz, so different from and so superior to the 
negroid steps and the drum-beat rhythm of the present. Mr. 
Papanti, whom we all must remember as a graceful Italian 
gentleman, had a power of discipline over his young charges, 
perhaps as a result of early military training, far superior to 
that of the unfortunate Mr. Treete. A stern look from Signor 
Papanti's dark eyes, and several sharp raps of his bow upon his 
fiddle, were sufficient to quell the exuberancies of the wildest 
rebel 5 yet now and then revolt would break out in some small 

George Apley, in his "Memories of a Boston Boyhood," al- 
ready quoted, alludes to certain reluctant youths who would 
persist in hiding behind the greatcoats in the boys' dressing 
room, rather than mount the stairs of the Tremont Street hall 
to join the fairer sex. These malingerers, when they were di* 
covered, were ushered upstairs by the agile dancing master b ii* 


self and were obliged to walk across the floor from the boys* 
row to the girls' row amidst subdued tittering. 

There was one girl [George Apley writes, to quote from 
his very quotable paper] by the name of Elizabeth Freer, the 
iister of Jimmy Freer, whose family dwelt on Chestnut Street, 
the same Jimmy who was the Harvard halfback. Elizabeth 
was prone to burst into unreasonable fits of giggles at Papanti's, 
which at times she was unable to suppress. When I discovered 
this weakness, I regret to say that I abetted it by every means 
in my power, and found that a few simple changes of facial 
expression would frequently throw the unfortunate child into 
convulsions. . . . "Poor girl," as Whittier so aptly says, "the 
grasses on her grave have forty years been growing." 

It was here at Papanti's, as George Apley once confided to 
me, that he first set eyes on Catharine Bosworth, one of the 
Bosworths who dwelt near the corner of Mt. Vernon and Wal- 
nut Streets, another instance of how attachments ripen early 
in our environment. It is not difficult to perceive that these 
early days at Papanti's leave behind their train of friendly 
memories. Many a romance had its inception in this atmos- 
phere, particularly at the more grown-up series of evening 
dances which we attended later. The auspices were always suit- 
able for the meeting of young people, as the list of those at- 
tendant was under careful scrutiny and represented the best of 
our group. 



A Few Instances 

In Which Apley Meets Ltfe in It3 
More Challenging Aspects 

A LETTER to his elder sister, Amelia, written in the mid- 
dle of his fourteenth year, evidently when Miss Apley 
was on a visit to New York, sets another mark to the broad- 
ening of George Apley's horizon. 

Dear Am: 

I hope you are having a good time and going to lots of 
parties. What do you think Father took me to the theatre 
the first time Pve ever been to a real theatre. We went to the 
Museum to see a play called "So Lies the Dew, or A Con- 
fession of Conscience." I wish you would dress like Miss Jane- 
way. They tried to pretend that she was only a poor governess 
when she was really the heiress to Lord Roxbridge. . . . 

The rest of the letter, which we will refrain from quoting 
here, indicates a boy's enthusiasm for the dramatic arts, as well 
as a dawning understanding of life, which has caused the writer 
to repair to the dramatic shelves of the Boston Athenaeum iw 
order to refresh his memorv on the details of this production. 


"So Lies the Dew," one recalls, was a highly successful and 
popular piece in its day, written by the actor-author George 
Willoughby, who played the part of the villain, Hugo Sayre. 
Admitting that the plot has not aged well, there is none the 
less a sparkle to Mr. Willoughby's dialogue which explains 
the great popularity of the piece. The theme was one of a genu- 
ine moral significance, which probably explains why young 
George was allowed to see a production which furnished much 
discussion around Boston teatables. Briefly stated, this drama 
was designed to show that deceit and covetousness meet their 
own retribution when facing the impregnable front of in- 
tegrity. The three virtues of Tennyson faith, hope, and chas- 
tity are quite accurately unveiled in the action of five acts, 
centering around the dramatic question of whether a forgotten 
heiress will lose both her virtue and her inheritance. It may be 
added that the dialogue concerning this former attribute was 
couched in terms probably vague enough to be above the head 
of a boy of fourteen years, and at best was a minor element. 
Though the oversophisticated youth of the present may well 
laugh at the artificiality of the plot and the ridiculous con- 
trivances of concealment in "So Lies the Dew/' one shrewdly 
suspects that this drama in its reticences will prove in the course 
of time no more outmoded than the bald, inaccurate, and unin- 
telligent realism of the present theater. 

This drama is only mentioned here as an illustration of a new 
side of life which was confronting George Apley and which a 
boy of his generation was obliged to meet single-handed, with 
little or no explanation from his elders. The practice of ig- 
noring many basic facts of relationship between the sexes, 
which was prevalent in George Apley's boyhood, one must 
repeat again was probably no more dangerous or absurd than 


the franker expositions which are now presented to confused 
and uninterested youth. If a boy in those days was permitted 
to find out about such matters for himself, he generally did so 
quite accurately and with no great harm. As a schoolboy grew 
older there were certain parts of Boston which he was generally 
forbidden to visit, and needless to say he visited them. 

It was in such localities in our late 'teens that we boys heard 
bits of conversation quite different from the talk in our parents 1 
parlors j and yet, on the whole, perhaps this was not detri- 
mental. Youth has its own capacity to absorb surprises, and the 
natural conservatism of a proper home environment put these 
surprises for a healthy boy in a suitable perspective. 

George Apley and his boyhood group were now reaching 
that interesting, if difficult, period of adolescence when a cur- 
tain rises which has obscured the stage of life partially from the 
accurate but unsophisticated eyes of childhood, and when life, 
seemingly overnight, assumes a new significance that reveals 
the characters of those about us. For some this revelation, close 
to religion in its sudden illumination, brings in its train an 
awkward tongue-tied silence and an introspection, particularly 
on religious matters j and with George Apley this was partially 
the case, though we find him also developing that capacity for 
tolerant observation which will prove one of his outstanding 
and lifelong characteristics, and which stood him in such good 
stead over trying intervals. 

In the summer of George Apley's fifteenth year he encoun- 
tered an adventure which could not but have a profound effect 
upon his viewpoint in that it brought to him very vividly the 
presence of impending death. He had been sent from Hill- 
crest on one of those customary visits to the country estate of 
his uncle, Horatio Brent, which as we have already mentioned 


is situated at Pachogue Neck on Buzzards Bay. Horatio Brent, 
who was the founder of Brent and Company, the banking house 
on Congress Street, was from boyhood an ardent sportsman 
whose collection of early shotguns still betrays his avidity. His 
windswept acres on Buzzards Bay were a haven for duck and 
quail shooters, and already he had interested George Apley in 
the sport by presenting the boy with a fine, light Parker on his 
birthday. It was here, also, on Pachogue Neck, as well as on the 
John Apley estate at Hamilton, that young George had his 
first experience in riding. But, more than these interests, sail- 
ing held him spellbound. 

"When I am aboard a boat," George Apley once wrote, 
"tending the sheet myself, I am away from everything. I have 
always felt this to be true." 

George Apley, already growing large and endowed with the 
wiry Apley physique, was allowed that summer to share one of 
those broad-beamed twenty-foot Cape catboats with his cousin, 
Horatio Brent, Junior. At five o'clock one summer afternoon, 
tfhile they were off the South Rip Shoals some five miles off 
Pachogue Neck, they encountered a sudden thunder squall. 
Boylike, neither of them visualized the force of the gale be- 
hind its-curtain of steamy water until it struck them suddenly 
with its full weight. They jibed, and the boat turned over. For- 
tunately, as it was discovered later, her ballast broke loose, and 
thus she floated, bottom up, affording the two boys a precari- 
ous hold. They remained clinging to the bottom, and encoun- 
tering a high but warm sea, for some two hours, feeling their 
strength gradually ebbing away and their desire for life ebb- 
ing with it. 

It was fortunate for the boys that Horatio Brent* disturbed 
by the suddenness of the storm, was on the lopkout on the 


veranda on Pachogue Neck. When the squall lifted he saw the 
bottom of the capsized boat and put out at once, with a local 
lobster fisherman to the rescue. Arriving, he found that George 
Apley had managed to get a piece of rope under the arms of 
Brent's half-unconscious son Horatio, and was thus preventing 
his cousin from being washed away. This is a matter of which 
George Apley has never spoken, and it may not be known to 
many of his family. 

Letter {rom George Apley to his sister Amelia. 

Dear Am: 

I had a chill when they took me off and Uncle Horatio made 
me take a glass of whisky. I felt better when I had the whisky. 
I seem to know a lot more. I am going to take that boat out 
again just as soon as I get up. I do not want anyone to think 
that I am afraid. . . . 

Whether rightly or wrongly, this last wish was not gratified, 
at least in its entirety, as is shown by a letter from Thomas 
Apley which the writer found among George Apley's papers, 

Dear George: 

Under no circumstances will you sail again this summer unless 
you are accompanied by a competent boatman, preferably the 
elder Nickerson from Beach Road. You were careless in han- 
dling that boat. You should have let down the peak and al- 
lowed her to ride it out. Instead, you allowed the full force 
of the squall to hit square on your sail. You have caused your 
mother a very great deal of worry and anguish. She was unable 
to attend the meeting of her Sewing Circle yesterday after- 
noon and has been in bed this morning with a severe headache. 
You are growing old enough now to remember that your ac- 
tions have a direct effect upon all those who are interested in 


you. I am enclosing my check for five dollars which I wish 
you to present personally to the lobsterman who was instru- 
mental in getting you off that capsized boat. . . . 

There is a further sequel to this incident which may not be 
known to the family but which reveals itself in a letter from 
Elizabeth Apley to her son. Normally it would not be quoted, 
and it is done so here at the risk of delicacy, to fulfill the writer's 
promise of holding nothing back in the life of the boy whose 
character as a man the writer has always revered: 

It 5s very dear of your cousin Henrietta to be taking such 
good care of you and naturally, George, you are very grateful 
to her. Being two years older than you, she must be a delight- 
ful and sympathetic companion and it must be at some sacrifice 
to her that she gives you so much of her time, though of course 
she is a sweet girl who has much of her mother's outgiving 
nature. Now, George dear, I am going to add a word of cau- 
tion, because your happiness and your development are my 
greatest interest. It is hard for me to realize that my little boy 
is growing up to an age when he can take a different view of 
girls. You are close to the age when you may grow attached 
to someone a few years your senior. Mind you, nothing is 
more wholesome than cousinly friendship, but for your own 
peace of mind remember that anything else may result in un- 

And, George, I do not need to tell you to revere woman- 
hood, for that reverence is a part of the code of any gentleman. 
Reverence of womanhood, or at least a deep respect, is the 
cornerstone of life's structure. Give my dear love to Cousin 
Henrietta and all your other cousins. 

Tragically enough, the experience of elders can seldom be 
translated to youth. That eminently sane advice of Elizabeth 


Apley, one has reason to believe, went unheeded. The evidence 
of this is contained in several poems in one of the boy's stray 
notebooks which were probably never placed before the eyes fon 
which they were intended. A few lines from one of them, en- 
titled "To Henrietta," will be quoted here, if only because they 
reveal an attitude of chivalry which George Apley never lost. 
To the boy and to the man, the good woman was a creature of 
another world, to be protected at all costs. 

There are things I dare not do, Henrietta 

I would like to say, 1 love you, Henrietta, 

I would like to touch your hand, but would you understand, 

My love for you is true, Henrietta? 

Though one may suspect that these lines came partially from 
tKe songs which George Apley heard rendered by his sisters and 
their swains around the piano in the Beacon Street parlor, they 
have, in spite of their triteness, a sad sort of beauty. To one who 
sees them scrawled on the yellowing pages of a notebook, they 
speak a little sadly of a boy's first love. They tell of the glam- 
our and the beauty of an early comprehension of the world. 
They foreshadow the inevitable tragedy, and with it the half- 
ludicrous disillusion, of a boy's first love; but in spite of dis- 
illusion George Apley remained throughout his life steadfast 
in his attitude, which was one of chivalry and restraint. This 
thought may be best expressed before leaving the subject 
in a letter which George Apley once wrote to his son John, 
and which is now in the hands of the writer. 

You must not be shocked to discover, as I was in my early 
'teens, that there are two kinds of women in this world, good 
women and bad women. The latter class you must learn tc 


treat somewhat differently from the former, as they concern 
your life only indirectly. But always remember this: Treat 
them all respectfully. You may be amazed to learn how much 
good there is in the very worst. At any rate, it will please you 
in later years to know that you have always been a gentleman, 
and, believe me, that is something. 

Until now we have been describing the background of 
George Apley, important because it furnished the mainsprings 
of his character. But now the stage is set. Before George Ap- 
ley's eyes, his own sisters and parents, his school friends, his 
masters, the Brents, the Hancocks of Nahant and the John 
Apleys at Hamilton, and many others in the family circle, were 
beginning to assume a new and more rounded relationship. 
They will now step forth on these pages as people seen through 
young man's eyes. 

George Apley and the present writer and other members of 
his school group were graduated from Mr. Hobson's school 
in the spring of 1 883. Having passed his preliminary examina- 
tions that same spring and his final examinations that autumn, 
George Apley became a member of the Harvard class of 1887, 
for the first time actually launched into a larger world. A let- 
ter of his father's at the time contained some common-sense 
admonitions. The letter was dated from New York. 

Your examination marks, which are before me, while not 
of the highest, are on the whole satisfactory as far as I can 
judge by comparing them with the results achieved by the 
sons of my other friends. The radical views of Charles Eliot 
are changing Harvard into a place which I no longer wholly 
understand. Nevertheless, I feel that some views of mine, those 
of an old "fogey" if you wish to call me so, still have a certain 


pertinence. You have always seen wine upon our table. You 
have seen it used, not abused. If you wish to drink moderately 
at meals, it is now your right. As for smoking, although I have 
enjoyed a cigar after dinner for many years I had rather that 
you avoided the habit. As for women, I mean to talk to you 
sometime, George, about this matter. You may now and then 
fall in with a "fast" crowd ; you may be subjected to tempta- 
tions. My great hope is that your bringing-up will cause you 
to see them in a sensible light. I have no objection to your 
taking part in the various college sports now becoming so 
fashionable, nor has your mother any objection. 1 only wish 
you to remember that you are primarily at Harvard to broaden 
and to improve your mind and I want you to remember that 
how you behave reflects both on your parents and your family. 
I do not think I need say any more, because you are my son. 
While I am anxious you should live comfortably in keeping 
with your position, I do not wish you to live on the scale of 
the "swells." There is nothing more ill-bred than the over- 
lavish spending of money. Your allowance, above your living 
expenses and a reasonable amount for books, will be fifty dol- 
lars a month, I think a generous sum. Out of this you must 
dress and amuse yourself. 

Business will keep me here for another two weeks. Your 
mother will settle you in your rooms and I shall hope to hear 
A good report from you at our first Sunday lunch together at 



"About these halls there has always been 

aroma of high feeling not to be found or lost 

in science or Greek not to be fixed, 

yet all-pervading" 

are certain persons of whom it has been said, 
IL partly in jest though partly in earnest, that their clock 
struck twelve while they were undergraduates at Harvard and 
that in the interval remaining to them between youth and the 
grave their personalities underwent no further change. This 
is an indictment, though the writer does not believe it wholly 
a fair one, which may be leveled against a number of his con- 
temporaries. It might be more suitable to consider it not ah in- 
dictment but rather a tribute to Boston and Cambridge that 
so many of her sons succeed in staying perennially young in 
spirit^ that by some magic the scenes of their youth and the 
triumphs of their youth remain indelibly before them. Consid- 
ering that George Apley's preparation for his college years had 
a peculiar adequacy, it is not strange that he should have been 
one of that happy band who derived much inspiration from col- 
lege life. By tradition and position George Apley's group, of 
irhich the writer was one, was truly fitted for a college career. 


The friendship with the leading spirits of our class was open to 
us by right, as were the doors of the best houses during many 
events of the social season. 

It is not strange, therefore, as one attempts to reveal the 
thoughts and actions of his most intimate friends through the 
"shortest, gladdest" years of his life a line unfortunately 
written by a Yale man, but none the less true that one feels 
a certain thrill of anticipation. Even the stupidest, least ob- 
servant of us were confronted with a certain something at 
Harvard, indescribable but unmistakable, which could not fail 
to add to our stature and our manner. It is an attribute which 
has best been described by the late Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
Junior, the soldier and the jurist, in his answer to a toast at th^e 
Commencement of 1884. 

"It has been one merit of Harvard College that it has never, 
quite sunk to believing that its only function was to carry a 
body of specialists through the first stage of their preparation. 
About these halls there has always been an aroma of high feel- 
ing not to be found or lost in science or Greek not to be 
fixed, yet all-pervading." 

Our task will now be to show how George Apley, like so 
many another son of New England, took to himself a portion 
of this feeling and how his Harvard associations formed him, 
in spite of a single interlude which was to test his character, into 
a high-minded gentleman. 

The present writer, in an article "Harvard in the Eighties," 
which received much favorable comment at the time of its pub 
lication in Harper's magazine, has described something of the 
life of the period with its swift change of taste and fashion, and 
perhaps -a portion of it may be quoted here as the setting for 
the new scene of George Apley's activities. 


The Harvard of our day was undergoing a great transition 
which reflected the material growth of the country. This 
change largely expressed itself in the form of bricks and 
mortar, and its cycle may be marked by many fine contributions 
to the older building groups. The architectural triumph of the 
towering Memorial Hall, the informal yet important facade 
of the Hemenway gymnasium, the Gothic of Gore, the pleas- 
antly sculptured cornices of Gray's and Matthew's Halls, are 
some of the more interesting examples which this Harvard 
has passed on to posterity. Although the present may criticize 
the architecture of Richardson it bears witness to an undeniable 
intellectual vigor which has its prototype in many of the figures 
who adorned the Harvard scene, the scholars whose personality 
formed the taste of succeeding Harvard generations, the 
Childs, the Shalers, the Hills, apd the Nortons. Harvard was 
more truly the repository of the best of New England culture 
than it has perhaps ever been since. Cambridge was emerging 
with this Harvard from the status of a small university town 
into something that was larger. 

These impressions may be supplemented by some of George 
Apley's own, given in a letter which he sent the writer on the 
occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of their class. 

Cambridge is indeed growing a dizzy place since we were 
there, Will, but I'll warrant some of the old landmarks are 
left. There is the livery stable at Inn Street, for instance, where 
i kept my horse and trap. Cousin Jane lent me the money for 
it, you remember? There is Bow Street where we had our Club 
Table j that old house is still there, frowning upon the sybaritic 
magnificence of Beck Hall, and there are a number of tobacco 
shops and billiard parlors about the Square, suspiciously like 
those we once frequented, and the old Lampoon rooms on 
Holyoke Street, and the house where the Club had its quarters. 


The new building to which we have all contributed is cer- 
tainly more in keeping with its dignity, but I like the old one 
better. What a gay place Cambridge was! Full of light and 
laughter "Sweet college years with pleasure rife" we may 
not have learned much, Will; we may have had our heart- 
burnings and our jealousies, but we had a high old time. Pll 
tell you something confidentially. Although I don't under- 
stand it myself, I seemed to be standing a good deal more on 
my own two feet out there than I am to-day in spite of every- 
thing. I wonder why what's happened to us, Will? 

Even to the writer that question is sometimes haunting and 
disturbing, for there are certain enigmas in the past. The truth 
was that we were much the favored few, moving in an exclusive 
circle that was the envy of many less fortunately situated. 

The pictures of George Apley at this period might well be 
those of the typical Harvard man. There is one before me as 
I write, taken with the rest of the Club Table. It shows him a 
muscular, rangy, sharp-nosed youth, with thick yellow hair and 
a hint of laughter at the corners of his mouth, wearing a striped 
blazer and boasting a wisp of mustache on the upper lip. Besides 
this picture, there is also a word portrait of him by his friend, 
Dr. Sewall, in a letter of reminiscence now in the author's pos- 

I think the one in our crowd who had the best time of all. 
was George Apley. George was quite a figure in those days irv 
our little world. Once he was away from home he blossomed" 
out, though perhaps all of us blossomed out in that congenial 
atmosphere. George was never a wild rake, like Mike Walker v 
but he was full of honest fun. We all know how he won the 
middleweight sparring his Freshman year, in the Hemenway 
gymnasium. But more than that, he applied himself to hit 


work not that George burned the midnight oil. You and 
George were the literary ones in our crowd, Will, though of 
course you have gone much farther. Your magic gift of words, 
to bear such fine fruit in the later world of letters, was getting 
you on the Lampoon already, but George honestly applied 
himself to writing j he was sensible, too, most of the time, a 
good influence on the rest of us. Except for one lapse we all 
know of, George was a steady boy, but there must have always 
been that erratic strain. He had a bit of the rebel in him; the 
Apleys are too high-strung. 

This picture may serve, although it is not accurate in all of its 
essentials. Though lacking perhaps in brilliance, George Apley 
was endowed with a peculiar gift for friendship and with a 
certain generosity which even caused him to espouse the in- 
terests of others who were not in his own circle. He had a way 
of making many acquaintances among eccentrics who could do 
him no great good; and this tendency, we shall see, grew more 
pronounced during his undergraduate career, causing him to 
go against the sound sense and expostulations of his father and 
of many of his friends. This leads one to mention a single in- 
stance, brought out by the following correspondence. 

Extract from a letter to his father, December 1883. 

I am studying very hard and I have been taken on the tug- 
of-war team. I am also going out for the debating society and 
I have written a few "bits" which the editors of the Lampoon 
think are quite good. I have only been to Boston one night all 
week and that was to the Barrows' dance. Several of us rode 
home in a cab. In case you have heard some talk about it, I 
want to assure you that it was not our fault that the horse ran 
away. Yes, I am making a number of friends. Tfyere is one 


here whom I like very much (his name is Henry Alger) who 
sits beside me in English. His family come from Springfield 
and 1 should like very much to bring him home some Sunday 
for lunch. 

Letter from Thomas Apley. 

Dear George: 

Your mother and I were both somewhat worried by your 
letter. We neither of us can understand why you did not stop 
to see us if you came to Boston to the Barrows' dance. Surely 
you might have given us a moment of your time. I hope that 
excessive drinking did not cause the horse to run away, and 
your mother hopes so too. Your account of your many activi- 
ties indicates to us both that you are spreading yourself very 
thinly over too large a surface. 

What worries me more is a fear that you are not meeting 
the right people. The Westcotts, who were kind enough to 
agree to keep an eye on you, have told me you have declined 
two of their invitations to tea. No doubt you have more im- 
portant business, but nothing is more important than social 
consideration. You must bear in mind that the friendships and 
associations which you are now making at Harvard will be 
with you for the rest of your life. In my experience there is 
no truer axiom than that a a man is known by the company he 
keeps." Besides this, the connections you are now forming are 
of definite importance to your subsequent career, both in col- 
lege and in business. 

It is the fondest hope of your mother and me that you will 
be taken into the Club which has had an Apley for a member 
for many generations. But, your worthiness to be one of its 
members depends to a certain extent upon yourself. You must 
be sure to see the right people, which should not be difficult 
for you, as you have been born among them. Your mother and 


I have been greatly worried by your mention of this fellow- 
student named Alger. It is all very well to be democratic and 
pleasant to an acquaintance who sits beside you in the class- 
room, by an alphabetical accident. I have no wish to limit your 
circle of acquaintance, as acquaintances are valuable and in- 
structive, but you must learn as soon as possible that friend- 
ship is another matter. Friends must be drawn from your own 
sort of people, or difficulty and embarrassment are very apt 
to be the result. Who is this man, Alger? Though I have not 
heard of any Algers in Springfield, my acquaintance there is 
not large. I simply want to feel that he will be a useful and 
congenial friend. . . . 

Letter to Thomas A f ley. 

Don't worry, Harry Alger is first rate. We box every after- 
noon in the gymnasium. He says his father knows you. His 
father owns the West Springfield Yarn Company. . . . 

Letter from Thomas Apley. 

Dear George: 

That is capital. I remember Mr. Alger now, and I am very 
glad that you know young Harry. Have him around to lunch 
by all means. Your mother and the girls will be glad to see 
him. The West Springfield Yarn Company is a very sound 
organization. . . . 

Between the lines of this correspondence one who has been 
a parent may readily read and sympathize with- the anxious 
solicitude for the welfare of a son who is leaving the family 
roof and entering the world. This desire to control the destinies 
of one's offspring is a difficult one to check, for it contains all 
that is best in instinctive parenthood. If the anxiety of Thomas. 


and Elizabeth Apley for their son's welfare may have been too 
great, they may have had their own reasons for anxiety which 
they never communicated to the world at large. 

Letter from Elizabeth Afley y December 3, 1883. 

My dearest George: 

Your life in Cambridge sounds like a very happy one, though 
it is far removed from mine. Sometime we must have a good 
long talk about it. I was sorry we could not have done this 
last Sunday at teatime, but my guests made it impossible and 
then you, yourself, had to hurry back to do your lessons. I 
don't want you to overdo your studying, George. So many 
have ruined their eyes from overwork and I was worried at 
your appearance at Sunday luncheon. Both Amelia and Jane 
were worried too. Your eyes looked badly and you did not 
have a hearty appetite. Don't sit up too late studying another 
Saturday night but arrange it so that your Saturdays can be 
the beginning of a healthful relaxation before a day of rest. 

Yesterday 1 saw dear Mrs. Westcott, who told me that you 
had been in to tea and that my George spoke well and in- 
telligently about his courses of study. I am so pleased that you 
have seen the Westcotts and that you may now and then have 
a bit of home life during the week. 1 have heard from the Bos- 
worths, too, that you attended their party of evening games. 
I am so pleased that you like them. I suppose you think me an 
old lady now, but I still love charades and I do think that 
Catharine is turning into such a sweet girl. You may not realize 
it as I do, because you two have played together for so many 
summers in Milton, but you will realize it some day. Some 
day you will know that there is a beauty of the soul that is more 
important than worldly beauty. Remember this when you see 
worldly beauty. . . - 


Though this sort of admonition and encouragement could 
not but have a definite result, George Apley had patently 
reached a stage where youth must make its own adjustment, 
and must do so by the painful system of trial and error. With 
the world at one's feet, adventurous youth must explore its 
lights and shadows. In the following college theme, which evi- 
dently formed a part of his exercises in Freshman English, one 
suspects that there is more than a little firsthand experience. 
If so, it will serve to add to the veracity of George Apley's por- 
trait. If not, it will do no harm. Although this early attempt 
at composition deals with a social problem not frequently men- 
tioned, it must not be forgotten that every man has faced this 
problem in some one of its forms. The theme is entitled "A 
Night of Regret." 

The two young men had been drinking more than was good 
for them. They did so because they wished to prove proper 
companions for the older members of the party and they 
learned their lesson. When it was suggested that everyone 
should go to Mrs. Bryant's, Hugo said he did not know the 
lady and was afraid that he might not be in a fit condition 
to go anywhere. He was surprised that the others laughed 
heartily at his remark, assuring him, at the same time, that 
Mrs. Bryant would not mind. Next, this thoughtless party was 
in a cab, headed for a part of Boston out of the fashionable 
district. They stopped before a large house whose >hall was 
lighted dimly. The hour was late, but Mrs. Bryant seemed 
glad to see them. Hugo had never seen anyone like Mrs. 
Bryant j she was richly dressed and spoke with an Irish brogue, 
but she was most hospitable. She said the girls were in the 
parlour. Hugo's ignorance was such, or perhaps his condi- 
tion, that the painted cheeks and carmined lips of the crea- 


tures in that close, heavily scented, brilliantly lighted room 
gave him no message of warning. It was not until one of these 
singled him out and signified her profession in a way he could 
not doubt that Hugo knew he was in a house of ill fame. The 
knowledge shocked him to sobriety. He saw then where a 
thoughtless man might be led by heedless companions and 
he left the place at once, filled with fear and loathing and 
tortured by remorse. Such are the pitfalls that lie around us in 
t great city. 

This exercise, the rest of which is not worth quoting, was 
given the deservedly low mark of C-minus, but it shows some- 
thing of George Apley's sensibility. 

It is only fair to add that the extra-curricular activities of our 
set led only a few of its members on such expeditions more than 
once. There was little incentive, with the opportunity so freely 
offered to meet girls of one's own class at the social assemblies 
of the Boston season. Though the laws of chaperonage were 
strict in our day, it was possible for young people to meet, skat- 
ing on Jamaica Pond or walking in the suburbs. These casual 
meetings which occurred now and again afforded enough of 
wholesome romance and were protected usually by an honor- 
able reticence. There was also the wholesome outlet of vigorous 
competitive sport j the important connection between a sane 
mind and a healthy body was fully realized in the Harvard 
of that day. Somewhat light for the hard scrimmage of the 
football field, George Apley's attention was directed to spar- 
ring, then a very popular pastime. At the winter meeting in the 
Hemenway gymnasium, much to his surprise, he found that 
he was proficient in the manly art and actually outclassed the 
University titJeholder of his weight Higgins, a senior. This 
triumph could not help but have a profound effect in George 


Apley's college world. It not only gave him a new confidence 
in relation to his fellows but a new respect for himself. He sud- 
denly became deservedly popular with the athletic set. In a 
letter which he wrote much later to his classmate, Chickering, 
he speaks amusingly of his own reactions at that time prob- 
ably, as he said, one of the most important periods in his life. 

I suppose I must have been quite insufferable for a while, 
but 1 don't believe that the rest of you fellows at the Club 
table ever knew what that triumph in the Hemenway gym- 
nasium meant to me. I felt that I was somebody in my own 
right. I think 1 stood up straighter after that and did not back 
down so readily in an argument, but I must have been insuf- 
ferable. . . . 

If he was, it was a phase which the writer does not remember. 
As a matter of fact, George Apley's prowess was causing him to 
be considered favorably in other directions. The editors of the 
Harvard Lampoon, the little group which is brought together 
by its own merry humor as much as by its literary capacity, 
began to find in George Apley a congenial companion. Toward 
the end of the year, he was made a member of the Board 5 and 
also, greatly to his own pleasure but somewhat to his father's 
alarm, he was made a member of an organization, now defunct, 
known as the Racquet Club, whose membership was composed 
of an element known to some of us as "fast." 

The chief function of the Racquet Club was to spend a day 
each spring in a Tally-Ho coach on a country party. George 
Apley, who was able to handle the ribbons himself, acquitted 
himself well on such occasions, but perhaps what he enjoyed 
most were evening meetings in the rooms of his friends, where 
certain musical spirits raised their voices in choruses that per- 


haps may still be heard beneath the College elms: "A Health 
to King Charles," "Seeing Nellie Home," "After the Ball Is 
Over." The approval of his class was finally accorded George 
Apley by his selection as one of the first ten of the D.K.E. So- 
ciety, and Thomas Apley, himself, was keenly aware of the 
importance of this honor. 

Letter from Thomas Apley. 

Dear George: 

This last bit of news is capital. I am very, very proud. So 
are your mother and your sisters, and many of the doubts 
which I have felt about the wisdom of your course in college 
are now favorably resolved. I do not believe that you know, 
yourself, the importance of what has befallen you. The ap- 
proval of your classmates so expressed will, in a sense, be yours 
for life, and we need no longer have any fear about your elec- 
tion to the Club early in your Sophomore year. Again, I say 
that this is capital and 1 am sending you my check for fifty 
dollars, with only a single word of caution. Remember, though 
you have justly earned it, this honour comes to you in a sense 
because of your family's position. Thus, we feel honoured with 
you. . . . 

Although the mantel in George Apley's study at Gray's was 
now beginning to bear its burden of athletic trophies, and its 
walls the medals of the clubs, the study lamp upon the rose- 
wood desk which his mother had given him was not entirely 
dimmed. He was already laying the foundations of his later 
tastes, but for these he was also under obligation to the sensitive 
discrimination of Elizabeth Apley. It was she who guided him 
away from much that was trivial and valueless, and so we find 
him years later saying, in a letter to his son: "My mother 


taught me one important thing about reading, which I shall 
now hand on to you. It is simply this: Distrust the book which 
reads too easily because such writing appeals more to the senses 
than to the intellect. Hard reading exercises the mind." 

This bit of Puritan tradition did not, however, blind George 
Apley to the lighter side of letters, for one often found him at 
Gray's laughing over his Dickens and his Thackeray; and his 
marks in the final examinations of his Freshman year, though 
they set him only in the middle of his class, were not at all dis- 

Early in his Sophomore year, as his father predicted, George 
Apley was taken into the Club and joined that band which 
links each member in its peculiar brotherhood, no matter how 
far from kindred this meeting may take place. Once in this 
Club, much of George Apley's period of experimentation was 
over and his interests necessarily became centered in the Club 
itself. Though his acquaintance with outside members of the 
student body continued, he could not help but feel the weight 
of his added responsibilities which he gracefully expressed in 
a toast at one of our annual dinners: 

"All things which are worth while demand vigilance and 
sacrifice. To be a good Clubmate requires these attributes, for 
one's first effort must be for the Club. Critics have said that this 
is a narrowing of interest, but the reward is proportionately 

It must not be supposed, however, that the Club limited 
George Apley's student activities, as this was far from being 
its purpose or its spirit. He had put on weight in the summer of 
his Freshman year, so that in the next season he offered himself 
for the varsity crew and rowed at Number Six for the next two 
successive seasons. 


He appeared also in his Junior and Senior years in two musi- 
cal extravaganzas of the Hasty Pudding Club, the lyrics of 
which were written by the present author and the music by 
Chickering. The writer well remembers the nights of vigil and 
the weeks of nervous suspense while the first of these efforts 
was in rehearsal, for upon its success depended in a great meas- 
ure his own personal vindication. The knowledge that there 
would be present many graduates well known in the literary 
world, and that most of Boston society would occupy the stalls 
when the curtain rose, did nothing to assuage his doubts and 
fears. A glance at the old score now reminds him that the action 
took place in a Balkan palace, where, by a really ingenious twist 
of circumstances, the princess changed places with the lady's 
maid, little realizing that a handsome duke from another king- 
dom, madly in love with this heiress to the throne, had already 
insinuated himself into the palace as u boots boy." 

Amazed by his sudden infatuation for the little lady's maid, 
this duke is about to resign all to follow the path of his love, 
when the old king, who has fortunately been hiding under the 
bed, emerges, deeply moved by the entire scene, in time to ex- 
plain that the pretty little menial is, after all, the princess. At 
several of the rehearsals the more serious-minded members of 
the cast questioned the advisability of laying the scene in the 
King's bedroom, feeling that its implications might be misun- 
derstood j but one and all agreed to risk it on account of its 
mirth-provoking qualities. The author's word is not necessary 
for assuring the reader that the whole production was an im- 
mense success. The critic from the Boston Advertiser was kind 
enough to write the next morning: "We have a true dramatist 
in our midst. His name is Willing. . . . George Apley as the 
prince interpreted his role magnificently, and Edgar Sleed as 


the princess, though somewhat muscular, was on the whole a 
dainty sprite in lace and muslin." When George Apley, in an 
apron smeared with shoe blacking, sang the song "My Heart Is 
in My Boots," the author knew for the first time how really 
good his words were. Many still rank them with that classic 
"Odd Fellows' Hall," and they have been revived at least ten 
times in entertainments before the Berkley Club. 

Such triumphs as these, though not sedate, have a way of 
exercising a peculiar importance through the years. Whenever 
those of us who have joined in that boyish merrymaking get to- 
gether, memory binds us and lends an unconscious mellowness 
to our conversation that is as sound as a good rare wine. Back 
to our minds come a hundred pictures, made dear because we 
shared them together, and we know that the bravery of youth is 
recaptured and indeed that it has never left us. It is before me 
now, in a paper which George Apley read at the dinner cele- 
brating his forty-second birthday. 

Do you remember the fishing trip we took to Lynn in a 
four-in-hand one spring? I think that every one of us here 
around the table was in that party, which outdid the escapades 
of the boys in Wister's "Philosophy 4," to my mind one of the 
most perfect stories ever written of college life. It was Mike 
Walker's idea to hire the trap and drive to Lynn, there to 
produce poles and to start fishing in Lynn Square. I wish that 
<ve were setting out for Lynn again to-night, instead of sitting 
around this Beacon Street table. 

Such examples of the serious and the gay college life give an 
indication, one hopes, of George Apley's development, without 
there being need to cite many others. They show a normal pro- 
gression from bovhood to manhood, and an enthusiasm and a 


loyal spirit. From his contact with Harvard democracy and 
with the cross-section of the world which was presented to him 
there, George Apley was emerging, as a type perhaps, but a 
type of which Harvard may be definitely proud. He adhered to 
the strict conventions of youth loyally, on the whole; but now 
and then something in his spirit was irked at these conventions. 
If this occasional impatience lent him a certain instability, those 
who loved George Apley will all admit that the instability 
made him human. With this in mind, the writer must now turn 
reluctantly to a difficult incident in George Apley's private life, 
which he still fcels should be eliminated, in spite of the in- 
sistence of George's son, John Apley, that4t be aired. 



Dealing with a Subject 

Which Would Not Ordinarily Be Discussed in a 
Work of This Nature 

TTT SHOULD be stated at the outset that nothing which will 
JJL be published regarding a youthful lapse discussed in this 
chapter reflects to the discredit of our subject. It serves rather 
to illustrate that anyone at a certain stage of life may be beset 
by vagaries which must not be considered seriously. It must 
be remembered that through it all George Apley remained 
an outstanding success, not only in his Harvard class, but in 
society. That he did so, speaks well for his tradition and for 
his self-control. 

As one approaches the age for marriage there are many of 
both sexes who find it difficult to settle their lives finally in the 
direction where their real emotions and convictions should lead 
them. If it is so with George Apley, others of us have faced 
the same problem. The solicitude of his parents at this time is 
manifest by the correspondence which was kept intact as may 
be illustrated b> these extracts from a few letters. 


Extract from a Letter from Elizabeth Apley. 

You are probably too modest, George darling, and too pre- 
occupied with your Club and your College activities to know 
what a swathe you are cutting here in Boston. This makes me 
very proud, within limits, but you must not use that attractive- 
ness, George, as a means of playing fast and loose. I do not 
need to say any more, because I know that you will be the 
gallant knight. 

I think it is time for you to realize, though, now that you 
are in the middle of your Senior year, that there is a certain 
young thing, and a very* sweet one, who is taking you quite 
seriously. Your father and I are very glad and very much 
approve, because the Bosworths are quite our type of person. 
Catharine Bosworth has what my dear Jane Austen would call 
both "sense and sensibility." She has been brought up as you 
have been, to know that true happiness in life, such as your 
dear father and I have shared, is not based on external show. 
I think it would be very nice if you were to pay Catharine 
some little particular attention the next time you come into 
town. You and she have so much in common. 

Letter from George Apley to Catharine Bosworth. 

Dear Catharine: 

Mother is coming up to my room for tea on Thursday after- 
noon, after the meeting at the Hemenway gymnasium. She 
and I would both like it very much if you and your mother 
would drop in afterwards at Gray's. . . . 

Letter from Elizabeth Apley. 

Dear George: 

1 enjoyed the little tea party. I thought that dear Catharine 
looked very beautiful. Mrs. Bosworth could not help but say 


how well you two dear children looked walking across the 
Yard together. . . . 

Letter from Thomas Apley. 

Dear George: 

The portion of your grandmother's estate which came to 
you under her will makes a small but comfortable sum that 
under certain circumstances is enough to start life on, modestly. 
I am holding it in trust for you, as the will directs, using the 
income for your further education. I am also conserving a 
part for another contingency, in case you wish to speak to me 
about it. ... 

These beginnings, so intimately connected with George Ap- 
ley's future happiness, had an unforeseen and erratic inter- 
ruption. This takes the form to-day of a bundle of letters, taped 
and sealed, with a superscription in Thomas Apley's hand- 
writing, which reads as follows: "To be given to my son, 
George, at my death, with my request that he burn them." It 
is the writer's opinion that they should have been burned, 
either by George Apley or by his son, and this suggestion was 
made when this work reached the present stage. The reply of 
John Apley to the writer's request, which is appended here, is 
his authority for delving into a painful and needless detail. 

Dear Mr. Willing: 

I have been over these letters very carefully myself and 
cannot see the harm in them. That you do only makes me feel 
how different your and Father's world must have been from 
mine. My one desire is to see Father depicted as a human be- 
ing. Having read what you have written up to date, and it is 
phrased as only you yourself could phrase it, I think this busi- 


ness is a good deal to his credit. It must have required a good 
deal of initiative on his part to go as far as he did. . . . 

We will, therefore, continue in the light of this advice. The 
letters begin on May i, 1887. 

Letter to Miss Mary Monahan. 

Dear Mary: 

It is eleven o'clock at night. My roommate has gone to bed, 
so naturally 1 am sitting writing to you, because my mind 
keeps going back over every minute we have been together. 
I believe in fate now, I believe in destiny. Why should I have 
been in Cambridge Port, and why should you have been^there? 
When I picked up your handkerchief and we looked at each 
other, 1 remember every shade of violet in your eyes and 
every light in the black of your hair. You called me a "Back 
Bay dude!" Do you remember? You said we shouldn't be 
seen together bu* you met me that Sunday on Columbus 
Avenue. You make me see things as I have never seen them. 
I am not what you think me, Mary, and now I am going to 
show you. I am going down to Worcester Square to call on you 
next Sunday. If your brother Mike doesn't like it, it's time he 
knew better. I'd be glad to see Mike any time. . . . 

For reasons too obvious to be specified, any letters which 
George Apley may have received from the young^ woman, 
Mary Monahan, are not at present in existence, but informa- 
tion gathered from conversation and correspondence with 
members of the family and friends gives one a glimpse of this 
young woman who appears so abruptly in Apley's life. This 
glimpse, it must be admitted, reflects favorably on George 
Apley's taste, granting the impossible elements of this esca- 


pade. It appears that the Monahans, in their class, were respec- 
table. The girPs grandfather, a small farmer who held title to 
his own land in County Galway, left hurriedly for America for 
political reasons during one of those abortive revolutionary 
efforts near the middle of the last century. The girl's father, a 
contractor, who had inherited the family's political proclivities, 
was in a position regarded as comfortable by many of his na- 
tionality in South Boston. There was, it appears, a sufficient 
amount of attractiveness in this family circle to appeal to some 
weakness in George Apley's makeup, for there is no doubt that 
on many occasions he found actual relaxation at this girPs 
home. It may have been that George Apley's athletic prowess 
furnished him an additional entree, in that further correspond- 
ence reveals that the Monahans were personal friends of the 
notorious pugilist John L. Sullivan. 

As for the girl herself, she appears to have been superior to 
her class, even to the extent of being sought after by a young 
attorney and by a son of a member of the City Council. Apley's 
classmate, Chickering, who once accidentally encountered the 
pair in a canoe, on the upper Charles River, gave the writer a 
description upon which he will draw, not having himself seen 
the young woman. According to Chickering, who at that time 
was something of a lady's man, Miss Monahan had many of the 
externalsof a young person of a higher position. She was well 
and quietly dressed, and of a striking beauty that was more 
romantic than vulgar. Her figure was slender, as were her 
hands and ankles, her features delicate and interesting, her 
hair dark, her eyes deep violet. Her manners were quiet and 
polite j she was even mistaken once, when George Apley was 
seen walking with her on Commonwealth Avenue, for a visit- 
ing Baltimore belle. It need scarcely be pointed out that all 


these favorable attributes only served to lend to the affair most 
serious complications. 

Letter to Mary Monahan. 

My sweet wild rose: 

I hope your people liked me as much as I liked them. Dear- 
est, 1 had a very good time. Darling, I love you more than 
anything in the world. You give me something that makes me 
feel free for the first time in my life. Nothing, dear, has made 
me so happy as this sense of freedom. Will you let me read 
you Browning again sometime? Poetry itself is real when I 
read to you. . . . 

Letter to Mary Monahan. 


1 am glad that Tim thinks I am all right, because I think 
that Tim is the same. 1 suppose Tim thinks so because when I 
went out with him I did more than shake the hand that shook 
the hand of Sullivan. Of course it wasn't anything, my darling, 
It was very kind of big John to let me stand up to him for two 
minutes with the gloves on and something 1 won't forget in 
a hurry. When can 1 see you again? Nothing here amounts to 
anything. Everything is a travesty until I see you. . . . 

Letter lo Mary Monahan. 


Once and for all I want you to know that I mean every 
word I tell you. I never knew how dull existence was until 1 
saw you. If your father is worried by my attitude towards you, 
I think I had better speak to him myself. I shall gladly tell 
him what I have told you, that I love you and want to marry 
you, that I shall try all my life to make you happy. If my own 


family were to see how sweet you are, how unutterably beauti- 
ful, they would want it, too. Believe me, believe me, everything 
I say I mean. . . . 

"Letter to Mary Monahan. 

I should not care what they say, there are other places be- 
sides Boston and we can go to them. There is the West, for 

Letter to Mary Monahan. 

For the life of me I can't stop thinking of the sailboat we 
hired, and of the clearness of the day, so like your soul. Though 
I remember every minute of it, it all goes together into some- 
thing delicately sweet like music, so that I cannot take one 
moment from another. You took me away, just as I hope you 
will take me away forever from everything which binds and 
ties me. - 

The language in which these letters are couched betrays only 
too dearly the seriousness of George Apley's infatuation. Many 
passages must be left out for delicacy, as they might probe 
too intimately into the secrets of a high-minded idealist. It is 
certain that his intentions in this direction were always of the 
most honorable, and if latitude was offered him by the young 
Monahan woman, that he took no advantage of it. This is the 
one pleasing aspect of an affair which obviously could not be of 
long duration. It was only natural that in the course of time 
George Apley's aspirations should come to Thomas Apley's 
attention. Much of the ensuing detail can now be supplied only 
by the imagination, but the following letter suggests how the 
truth may have found its way to Thomas Apley. 


Letters to Mary Monahan. 

Mary, darling: 

Why do you always have in the back of your mind the feel- 
ing that this is not permanent? Nothing, I tell you, nothing 
can stop my love for you. All the things you speak about mean 
nothing to me. If you could see you would know that I am 
right. I am tired of being brought up in this atmosphere of 
self-assurance. I am tired of everything but you. 

That is why I do not worry about rumours. What if old 
Clarence Corcoran has seen me in your company and has ex- 
pressed surprise? It is true that Clarence was my father's 
gardener just as you say, and still calls me "Master George," 
but I don't see why this is alarming. 1 am proud to tell anyone 
that I love you. I am prouder still that you love me, because 
1 do not deserve it. ... 

Pour, sweet darling: 

You must leave this to me. It is very dear of you to be afraid, 
but I am not in the least. If my father and mother were once 
to see you they would understand everything. Once they do, 
you'll find that all the Apleys stick together, and that you will 
be one of us. ... 


You must not be afraid. You are the only person I shall 
ever love. It has been very dreadful, but they cannot stop me, 
my sweet, and you cannot, because 1 love you, I love you. . . . 

Since these letters are not dated, one is obliged to guess at 
their chronological sequence. It will be left for the reader to 
fill between the lines himself, and to draw his own conclusions 
regarding such events as these lines foreshadow. Since this cor 


respondence comes to an abrupt end, it may be assumed that 
rumors finally reached the ears of Thomas Apley, but the 
natural reticence of a man of affairs and of a family confronted 
with such a problem leaves his exact reactions to it, and his 
methods of dealing with what must have been, to him, a shock- 
ing affair, considerably in the dark. 

The reactions of the Monahan girl, who one suspects be- 
trayed better sense than niany another in her position and of 
her connections, lie also behind a blank wall of silence. 



Th* Important Initial Impact 
of Continental Sights and Scene* 

ON THE twenty-seventh of June of this same year, 
George Apley's nervous reserves were greatly depleted 
by his anxiety over his final examinations and by the duties 
which devolved on him as an officer of his class. Very sensibly 
his family recommended a sea voyage and a change of scene, 
and thus unexpectedly he entered on an adventure which must 
always be a bright one in the days of any youth. On June 
twenty-seventh George Apley, in the company of his aunt and 
uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Horatio Brent, and his elder cousin, 
Henrietta Brent, embarked from New York to England and 
for a summer tour on the Continent. The following letters, 
written him by his mother for his perusal on the day of sailing, 
show Elizabeth Apley at her best. They combine the tender- 
ness of a mother's care with the cheerful courage of a brave 
woman who faces a crisis courageously and hopefully. 

My dearest George: 

I hope by now you are feeling such a great deal better, 
less tired and much less worried and better able to see things 


as they really are. Your aunt and your uncle, my dear George, 
are such understanding people, who both love and admire you 
so deeply that you could not be in better company. I think 
it was very generous and sweet of them both so gladly to leave 
everything they love best in life, which is, of course, Pachogue 
Neck, to go with my poor tired boy who will be better very 
soon. You must not worry them, George dear, but be very 
thoughtful of them and particularly of your poor cousin Henri- 
etta. You know as well as the rest of us that the man she met 
at that unfortunate Ball in Philadelphia, which I did my best 
to prevent her attending, is only a little short of a mere ad- 
venturer. The wealth his family has gained from the steel 
mills at Pittsburgh only puts a very thin veneer over his vul- 
garity. His crudeness of speech and his utter obliviousness to 
the finer things of life, you know as well as 1, render him most 
unsuitable. You, my dear boy, when your strength is back, 
have such a fund of common sense and good humor that you 
can be of the greatest help to Henrietta as well as to your aunt 
and uncle, in this unfortunate phase. We older people under- 
stand these phases and know that they are soon over. . . . 

My darling boy: 

I reproach myself so much for my selfishness and for a 
preoccupation with my own affairs which so entirely prevented 
my perceiving that my dear boy was getting overtired. I can 
only say now that I shall know better at another time. You 
shall not want a mother's love, a father's love, or sister's love, 
when you come back to Hillcrest in the autumn. Your dear 
father, who is so thoughtful, when harm falls to his own brood, 
is already planning to have a study arranged for you in Beacon 
Street, so that we may all be together when you embark next 
winter on your readings in the Law School. The walk or the 
ride in the cars from Boston to Cambridge will be sure to do 


you good. But now no more of this. Your one thought mast be 
to gdt well and to be happy. 

How selfishly I wish I were to be with you so that I could 
see my dear boy's face light up with pleasure at the wonderful 
new sights which are in store for him. It has been many years 
since I was abroad, not indeed since before I was married, and 
I still treasure the impressions I have gained there and these 
do so much to help my reading. Westminster, the Thames, and 
the Embankment, how beautiful they are! How solemn and 
how majestic is Whitehall! And France! If these people have 
a certain frivoJousness in their conversation and their art which 
is a little hard for us quite to understand we can honestly love 
the sunny beauties of Paris and the countryside immortalized 
by our dear Rosa Bonheur. The Seine, Notre Dame, sad Ver- 
sailles, forest-girded Fontainebleau, Chartres and oh, per- 
haps the chateaux on the Loire! What a box of history's jewels 
are opened to you! If many of the characters who trod the 
paths of this history possessed a different code of morals and 
honour from our own, you must remember that they are dif- 
ferent people who lived in a darker age. With this letter comes 
a packet of books which I have marked for your reading. They 
will be your guide in this new adventure. The poems of Mr. 
Longfellow are particularly beautiful. . . . 

Letter from Thomas Apley. 

Dear George: 

I hope this finds you much better than when I saw you last. 
A sum of money in the form of a letter of credit has been 
placed in your uncle's hands for you to draw upon at his discre- 
tion. I think it better that we both refrain from discussing 
various matters until you return. I want particularly for you 
to consider your mother. She has been so unwell that I have 
been deeply worried about her and I will not have her upset 


further. You will view matters in quite a different light after 
a change of scene and will understand your obligations as t 
member of our family. ... 

'Letter from Amelia Apley. 

Dear George: 

There is one thing which I think you will be glad to know. 
No one is talking about you. 1 have told everyone that you 
were overtired by your examinations and everyone is most 
understanding. If you see any sort of brooch in Paris or any 
pin with pearls, I wish you would buy it for me. 

Your loving sister, 


Letter from Jane Afley. 

My darling brother: 

There is one person who knows how you must be feeling. 
George dear, brothers and sisters always seem to be so reticent. 
I wish we had not been. It would have been so much easier if 
you and I could have talked. You have always been so sweet 
to me. You have always made your friends dance with me at 
parties, you have always known when 1 was lonely and un- 
happy. I don't see that anyone is really very happy. 

Always your loving, 


There are no copies extant of George Apley's answers to 
these letters, if indeed he did answer them. For a mind as 
deeply disturbed as his he may quite probably haye gone on 
the New England principle that the least said the soonest 
mended. He was meeting the severe shock which comes to 
all of us who must reconcile inclination with obligation. There 


is no doubt that he struggled with the difficult horns of this 
dilemma, for his friends on his return from Europe were 
aware that he had undergone a spiritual change. Much of the 
irresponsibility which may have endeared him, but had also 
made him difficult, to many of his associates seems to have 
left him at this phase of his career. He had departed from 
New York as a youth; he returned as a man who could thank 
his own reasonableness, and the watchfulness of his parents, 
for this change. It is now a pleasant task to publish excerpts 
from a series of letters to his mother, bound in a packet en- 
titled "George's Wanderjahr," which show the chemistry 
of new scenes at work on the resilience of youth. The healthful 
contact with new faces and new environment was serving to 
heal what must have been, to a man of his sensitive feelings, a 
deep and painful wound. 

Letter from George Apley to Elizabeth Apley. 

We had a safe and pleasant crossing and here we are at 
Southampton. Aunt Martha and Henrietta were ill most of 
the time but Uncle Horatio and I managed quite well, play- 
ing cribbage in the smoking-room. I know you do not like 
cards j my excuse is that time had to be passed and that I was 
not well enough to read. It is very true, I think, what so many 
of our friends have said: that an arrival in England is like 
coming home. It seems to me that it is everything nice about 
Boston, with none of Boston's problems. There is a beautiful 
orderliness and a cheerful acceptance of fact which has meant 
a very great deal to me. We are staying at a little inn before 
leaving for London, the sort that Dickens and Washington 
Irving have written about. Please tell Father that I delivered 
his letter to Mr. Murchison, who received me very kindly, J 
am all agog to see London. 


Letter to Elizabeth Afley. 

Why did no one tell me how much old England is like New 
England? The country out of the train window reminded me 
of our own Ipswich and Rowley, and London after all is only 
a greater Boston, except that I think our air is better. Hyde 
Park may be larger but 1 do not think it is in any better taste 
than the Public Garden of the Common. It is only that there 
is more of everything. There are more Louisburg Squares, 
more Beacon Streets, and more Clubs. We are putting up at 
the Chiswick Hotel and we were very glad to get there, for 
we immediately encountered friendly faces. Whom should I 
meet but Professor and Mrs. Brokin from Cambridge, and 
Winthrop Vassal and his mother and sister, also out to see 
the world, and the Sellers from Chestnut Street, and Miss 
Marie Coffin from Nahant? It was quite like a family party. 
Under Aunt Brent's guidance half a dozen of us have arranged 
to do the galleries, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower to- 
morrow. Uncle Horatio has some business at a gunsmith's and 
later wishes to see some Springer trials. I am planning to- 
morrow to leave Uncle John's letter on Sir William Fewkes, 

The determined gayety of these letters, one is led to believe, 
was largely assumed for the benefit of Elizabeth Apley, of 
whom he was always thoughtful. A letter to his sister Jane, of 
the same date, reveals an undercurrent of deep unhappiness: 

I wish I were more in the mood to enjoy the sights around 
me, but they seem to pass by me like shadows of a dream. My 
mind is so engrossed with other subjects that I seem to be 
walking by myself. Uncle Horatio has been very kind to me^ 
he took me to the play last night. 


Letter to Thomas Afley. 

Dear Father: 

I gave Cousin John's letter to Sir Thomas, in which you 
were so interested, and received a reply the next day asking 
me to his country place in Hants. Uncle Horatio went with 
me because I suppose he feels I am better when I am not alone. 
The place at Hants was beautiful, with a fine maze of box. 
It reminded me very much of Hillcrest, except that it was 

I respect your judgment but 1 have not changed my 
mind. ... 

Letter to Elizabeth A-pley. 

Dear Mother: 

Miss Marie Coffin took us boating on the Thames and we 
compared many of the sights to scenes along the Charles River. 
We are going to Paris to-morrow. . . . 

Letter to Elizabeth Apley. 

Dear Mother: 

No sooner did we arrive at the hotel after a very rough 
channel crossing than I found again what a very small place 
the world is. There in the dining-room were Dr. and Mrs. 
Jessup from Mt. Vernon Street, and Jane Silby and her aunt 
from Commonwealth Avenue, and the Morrows from Brook- 
line. Aunt Brent says that the Hotel Metropole is one of the 
few hotels in Paris where one can be sure of meeting con- 
genial people. We all made a party for a drive this afternoon 
up the Champs Elysees. It is surprising how very much it is 
like Commonwealth Avenue. You will be glad to know that 
many of the waiters and cab drivers understand my French. 


Uncle Horatio and our driver had great difficulty over the 
fare, as Uncle Horatio does not believe in giving more than 
the usual ten per cent fee extra. We are going with Dr. and 
Mrs. Jessup through the Louvre to-morrow, where 1 am look* 
ing forward to seeing the Mona Lisa. . . . 

Letter to his classmate Walker. 

Dear Mike: 

Well, here I am in Paris and I wish you were here too. I 
saw Wintie over in London and we split a bottle together in 
a Public House and talked about the Club. 1 have always heard 
how pretty the French girls were and I am disappointed. If 
you and I were to walk up Tremont Street we could see a 
dozen prettier ones. Uncle Horatio and Dr. Jessup and I have 
been out several evenings to "see the town." We have been 
to several shows. There is no doubt that the French are a very 
immoral lot, even when one does not understand everything 
that is said. They certainly seem to enjoy and thrive on im- 
morality. Uncle Horatio is really quite a "sport" and once he 
has got Henrietta and Aunt Brent safely out of the way you 
would be surprised at some of his goings-on. Several evenings 
we have both of us been quite tight. He is very glad to have a 
vacation, he says, from Boston and so is Dr. Jessup. I am learn- 
ing a great deal about the older generation. Again, I wish that 
you were here. . . . 

' Letters to Elizabeth Apley. 

Dear Mother: 

We have now done Paris pretty thoroughly. I particularly 
love the enormous painting by Rubens in the Louvre and the 
marvelous Titians. As for the Winged Victory, I cannot keep 
my eyes off her. I love Notre Dame and the crooked streets 
along the Left Bank. I am ashamed to say that I have been 


playing a game with myself. It consists of reading "The Three 
Musketeers" very carefully and then trying to follow the 
footsteps of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis along the streets 
which Dumas has mentioned. Though the book is slight, it is 
a rather interesting way of seeing the city. Uncle Horatio and 
Dr. Jessup have also taken up my idea and are amused by it. 
We now call ourselves "the Three Musketeers." To-morrow 
we go to Fontainebleau. . . . 

The beech forest at Fontainebleau reminded me very much 
of Uncle Horatio's virgin stand of beeches at Pachogue Neck. 
The courtyard where Napoleon took farewell of the Old 
Guard was very solemn. It reminded me a little bit of the 
space in back of the State House. 

On the whole I like France. The people are all amusing, but 
they are very anxious to please. This has been a very profitable 
trip for me and I only hope that I am really getting the most 
out of it. 

Here we are in the city of Tours, staying at the Hotel 
Univers on a large open square. We were very glad to find 
the Bromfields and the Winstons from Milton and we all 
went together to see Loches. We all agreed that the country 
around Milton is more beautiful than the Touraine country. 
The wildness of Milton I like very much better than the in- 
tensive cultivation of the land here. I shall be glad to be com- 
ing home. 

Letter to his classmate Checkering. 

Here I am reaching the end of my trip through Europe. I 
have seen much of England and not a little of France, but I 
have been impressed by a similarity existing between almost 
every scene, the reason for which I think 1 chanced upon to- 


day. It seems to me that all this time a part of Boston has been 
with me. I am a raisin in a slice of pie which has been conveyed 
from one plate to another. I have moved; I have seen plate 
after plate; but all the other raisins have been around me in 
the same relation to me as they were when we were all baked. 

It is strange that instead of gaining much impression of dif- 
ferent cultures, we have succeeded in transferring our own 
culture momentarily upon every place we visited. We had no 
wish to lose our identity and we did not lose it. We have suc- 
ceeded in interposing a barrier of polite conversation, dealing 
principally with relatives and personalities, against the facades 
of the cathedrals, the collected works of the masters, and the 
walls of Chinon. When we were not doing this we were quoting 
from observations made by our own poets and scholars and 
thus we have seen the world through a local haze. This has 
had a strange effect on me. This effect is composed of a desire 
to escape plus an admiration for our tradition. 

I taxed my Uncle Horatio with the idea the other night over 
a bottle of Vouvray. The bubbles of this wine must have quite 
gone to my head to have made me do such a thing, but Uncle 
Horatio did not seem surprised. This is what he said: "1 see 
nothing astonishing in all this. People of the same tastes and 
inclinations naturally flock together. As a matter of fact I am 
quite convinced, and you will be convinced in time, that our 
own culture and our own morals are a good deal better and 
finer than those of the people around here. Find a Bostonian 
and you will find a citizen of the world." 

Well, he may be right but 1 have seen more of Boston than 
of Europe. By and large, 1 have seen a great deal of Boston 
since I was born. 

These letters have been quoted thus fully because they dis- 
play random thoughts coincidental with full development 


In spite of his criticism of the Boston barrier, George Apley 
was succeeding in storing up a number of valuable impressions. 
He brought home with him two notebooks filled full of careful 
observations of the places which he had visited so like those 
of nearly any youth of George Apley's years that they are 
hardly worth quoting. We will content ourselves with one 
excerpt which may seem both unusual and disturbing: 

As I stood on the edge of this village and looked up the 
white road winding between its hedges through that rolling 
farm country, I wished that I might be walking up that road 
entirely alone, away from everything I knew. I wished that 
I might be walking up it to see something by myself and for 
myself without guidance and without advice. I wonder, will I 
ever walk up any road alone? 

It is safe to assume, however, that such thoughts did not 
arise often to haunt him and that the following letter to his 
sister, Amelia, is more in keeping with his usual outlook, sc 
we shall allow it to strike the last note of his European tour: 

Here we are, back in London. Henrietta is having some 
clothes made for her here, according to some ideas of Aunt 
Martha's which are different from the theories of the French 
modistes. Aunt Martha says that no one over here understands 
the rigours of a New England climate. When she came over to 
England her mother had some very nice tweed suits made for 
her which lasted very well. Some of the same are now being 
made for Henrietta. 

Father has done something for me which has both surprised 
and touched me. He has opened an account at Wilson and 
Maxwell's on Albermarle Street, so that I may buy a new 
wardrobe. I am afraid mine is going to look a good deal better 


than Henrietta's. Aunt Martha has bought six canvases by a 
Frenchman named Monet, of landscapes which are made in 
blotches. They seem to me quite mad, but Aunt Martha says 
they will be a good investment. Uncle Horatio has purchased 
six Springer puppies. I have a box of books and some presents 
and Uncle Horatio has given me a twelve-gauge Greener out 
of several he has bought for the gunroom. 

Thus concludes our glimpse of a trip through Europe much 
the same as the travels of other liberal families in comfortable 
circumstances, and interesting only in so far as it sheds light 
upon our subject's character. He had expressed a desire, not 
unnatural to youth, to journey up the road alone. How little 
one can estimate one's own future! Only too soon, probably 
without his realising the pleasant imminence of the fact, 
George Apley was about to proceed up the road of life hand 
in hand with a helpmate whose choice he was never to regret. 
We find that his next year in Boston quite artistically fore- 
shadows such an event 



Aspects in the Settling Down to th* 
Actual Tasks of Life 

//GEORGE APLEY returned to Boston in late Septembei 
^VJJ with his reservoir of health refilled, to take his position 
as a student not only in the Harvard Law School, but also in 
the more carefree ranks of unattached young bachelors. Al- 
though both Thomas and Elizabeth Apley were keenly de- 
sirous that their son's struggle with Blackstone should be sue- 
tessful, they evinced a growing preoccupation that he should 
take the position intended for him in society. Thus the Apley 
papers of this period deal not only with the abstractions of the 
law George Apley was immediately taken into one of the 
Law Clubs which occupied much of his time but also with 
the gayer side of social entertainment. On Friday evenings the 
Apley house on Beacon Street became the scene of frequent 
"semi-formal" dinners given for the son, and in addition the 
hand of Thomas Apley is seen at work, as is shown by thf 
following letter. 


'Letter to George Apley , Esq. y jrom Thomas Boylston y Esq. 

My dear George: 

The conversation with your father at the Club this after- 
noon leads me to hope that you will be willing to have your 
name come up for election as one of the Board of Trustees for 
the Boston Waifs' Society. We are anxious to get young blood 
on our Board and you are doubtless aware of the Apley con- 
tributions to this cause. 

The Boston Waifs' Society, perhaps I do not have to tell 
you, was founded by Nicholas Brattle in 1802 for the care of 
unprotected children in this city. Our work has comprised the 
oversight of many waifs, rendered such by no fault of their 
own, uncil to-day this charity has assumed the importance of 
being a definite obligation to that section of Boston more fortu- 
nately situated than the rest. . . . 

George Apley was made a member of this Board at the an- 
nual meeting in the first week of January, 1888 j and at nearly 
the same time he became the recipient of another letter, which 
is self-explanatory. 

Letter from Minot Pickens to George Apley. 

Dear George : 

Some of your friends, including myself, want to know if you 
would not like to have your name put up for the Berkley Club. 
You know what this Club is, a congenial place of friendship, 
made up of interesting people like yourself, where informality 
is the watchword and where anything may happen of an eve- 
ning. . . . 

The Berkley Club, which needs no introduction, was already 
omething of an institution. Started by an artistic set who 


desired to while away their leisure, it was fast growing to in- 
clude in its list many young lawyers and men of affairs and 
the informality of its earlier days was giving place to a light- 
hearted ritual. The Club's patroness being Aurora, the goddess 
of dawn, there follows the natural implication that many ol 
the members sat up all night, as was indeed the case; and 
these evenings gave forth many interesting bits of song and 
story which are now embalmed in the Club records to be 
perused by those who are privileged to open the pages. From 
the very beginning of his membership George Apley became 
an ardent devotee to the goddess of dawn, and much of his 
life may be traced to the plays and pageants in the Berkley 
Club House. George Apley also was on the list of the Satur- 
day Evening Assemblies. 

Letter to his classmate Walker. 

Dear Mike: 

It seems strange to think ot you in a banking house down in 
New York and not back here with all the rest of us. Well, we 
are all very sober now. We have to be, to keep in the Law 
School. Some of us meet in the Club for lunch on Tuesdays. 
As you know, 1 am living in Beacon Street this winter, so that 
I do not have a chance to get out as I once did. The only 
break I have in my routine is occasioned by the Berkley Club. 
I am glad to say that my mother approves of my being a mem- 
ber there because there are some very good writers and scholars 
on the list, not to mention musicians. 1 do not believe she 
realizes that the conversation is not exclusively scholarly and 
I do hope that no one will disabuse her. One has got to let off 
steam somewhere and I can think of no safer place. It is good, 
free, unconfined merriment. When half the evening is gone 
we do not seem to care very much who we are or where we 


came from. We are able to laugh and talk, quite confident that 
the walls have no ears to speak of. ... 

Letter from Thomas Apley, New York, January 1888. 

My dear George: 

It seems one must leave home to learn the news of home. At 
a dinner of some business associates the other evening 1 heard 
your name mentioned in connection with certain activities at 
the Berkley Club which had been relayed to my host by some 
young relative. It seems that you dressed up as Robin Hood 
in some sort of a pageant and later in the evening actually 
appeared upon Tremont Street with certain other Club mem- 
bers who were clad in similar costumes. 

This letter is not intended as a reproof. 1 flatter myself that 
I am broad-minded in such matters and that 1 was once y<4ung 
myself. 1 could tell you about certain sleigh rides and races 
which I indulged in, but 1 will not. A certain amount of this 
merriment is all very well, but one must be careful of the 
company which one chooses for such occasions. They must be 
from your own class. 

The Berkley Club is amusing enough and may sometime 
in the future have a definite social value, judging from its more 
recent members, but at present it .is a very informal place with 
an atmosphere of fiddling and writing about it which cannot 
command serious attention from the rest of the community. 
As J say, this is all well enough and 1 am glad that you are 
enjoying yourself but you must not forget that you are reach- 
ing a time in life when your name will carry certain implica- 
tions. I have been meaning often to talk to you about this 
responsibility - y and will, when I return from this trip. You 
must realize how much appearances count in a world of busi- 
ness and credit. You must realize, too, the economic system of 
tbJ* country is not in a perfect sense of balance and 1 can fore- 


see many grave difficulties in the very near future. You must 
also remember that your name is up, as my son, for the Province 
Club and that you are being watched. 

In quite a definite sense, I think, you must be setting the 
pace of your own set. I do not want you to display any lavish- 
ness or eccentricity, but I want you to enjoy yourself. You 
may feel free to use either of my two trotting horses, any of 
the carriages or sleighs. . . . 

Letter from William Apley, February , 1888. 

My dear Nephew: 

Your father, who was at Apley Falls last week, tells me 
that he wishes you to be employed about the Mills here for 
the coming summer. I think this is an excellent idea. But for 
the sake of appearance, you must take this position seriously. 
Just because you have been born with a gold spoon in your 
mouth gives you no privileges up here. I shall want you to 
call on me at the Boston offices the next time I visit town. . . . 

Letter from Martha Brent. 

Dearest Georgie: 

Your Uncle Horatio and I were so very proud of our young 
handsome nephew last night at Catherine Bosworth's party. 
When you led the cotillion your aunt could not keep her eyet 
off you and I suppose you know that a great many younger 
eyes were on you too. I have told your mother, for I think 
he should know about it, what Henrietta has told me, that 
you arc quite the centre of the younger set. This makes us all 
very pleased. . . . 

Memorandum from Elizabeth Afley. 

Dearest George: 

I am putting this in writing in case it may be of value te 


you. I am so very pleased that you have set pen to paper seri- 
ously and it was sweet of you to show this effort to your mother. 
I wish in turn to show it to Dr. Holmes and Mr. Howells, for 
I feel, and so does Mr. Pettingill, that it has promise and a 
real merit of its own. Your little sketch "Beacon Street" be- 
trays a real insight into our human comedy and a delight in 
nature which you must inherit from me. There is nothing more 
interesting and more useful all through life than a knowledge 
of letters. George, darling, I am so glad that you have turned 
to this recourse, but you must not let your sense of humour get 
away from you. You must be careful not to offend. Some of 
your accounts while travelling abroad, while amusing, are 
neither just nor true. Neither your Uncle Horatio nor your 
Aunt Martha nor Henrietta would be greatly flattered 
by their portraits although they make me laugh and laugh. 
You must try again, dear, and do something more^serious. . . . 

These letters all indicate a broadening of activity. George 
Apley, in his first year at the Harvard Law School, was giving 
a full indication of those varied interests which were to be 
his through life. His mind, while it was being drilled in the 
precisions of the law, was moving in these other directions. 
In a light social way he appeared at many parties of young 
people. He began to be a useful committee member upon an 
important charity, a clubman of the very best sort, a sports- 
nan, a student of business and finance, in short a man who was 
rapidly preparing to undertake family responsibilities. 

The summer of 1888 found George Apley in a new role 
frith his Uncle William Apley at the mill town of Apley 

This experience [he once wrote to his own son] was a most 
/aiuable one to me. There I was, pbliged to make my way with 


common labourers. They were most of them good fellows ano 
taught me something of the mind of the people. I do not be- 
lieve that anyone knew my status in the mills except the fore- 
men and the superintendent. I must say, after my daytime ex- 
perience, a comfortable bed and the hearty dinner at Uncle 
William's were very welcome, and there is one thing I am sure 
of: work in a cotton mill is neither hard nor difficult. It does 
no harm to rough it for a summer and I very much want you 
to do it yourself. 

At the end of six weeks of this labor at Apley Falls, Thomai 
and Elizabeth Apley evidently felt that there must be a period 
of relaxation, for we next find George Apley upon a series of 
visits up and down the New England coast. 

During this formative period at the Apley Mills, young 
Apley engaged in what was probably his first business transac- 
tion, and from it he gleaned an insight into the burdens which 
were being borne by the elders of his family. Several letters 
from his Uncle William Apley show that the young nephew 
was evidently sent to Boston, probably as a part of his educa- 
tion, to attempt the purchase of a few lots of cotton for th 
Apley Milk 

Letter to George Apley. 

My dear George : 

I find the order for the Number 4117 tickings, of which I 
spoke to you, before you went to the city, will require two 
hundred bales additional "Strict Middling" good body and 
staple. I am therefore asking you to inquire around the Boston 
market with a view to picking up these two hundred bales at 
a reasonable price. I ask you to remember that every cent 01 
fraction thereof which is added to raw materials and labour 



costs detracts from the eventual 'pro-fit. The last price we paid 
for this variety of cotton was 6%e cents. From my estimate 
of present market conditions, I am of the distinct impression 
that this figure may be shaded 6*% 2 cents, as there seems to be 
A little more pressure to sell. Besides, I happen to know that the 
Quanset Mills up-river here have lightened their demands on 
the market a trifle this week. 

I should suggest your trying Forbes and Son, first, and if 
they seem difficult to deal with, try Cabot and Steele. Do not 
commit yourself in any way but make an estimate of the situa- 
tion. I may warn you to be very watchful in dealing with Mr. 

I give you this lengthy advice as this is your first chance to 
show what you are made of. I hope very much that you can 
prove that you have inherited some of the family instincts, 
exemplified by your father and grandfather, which may 
eventually render you a fit member of the Boston business 

Yours truly, 


P.S. If Mr. Jessup, of the firm of Forbes and Son, should 
deal with you, 1 am much afraid that he may take advantage 
of your youth. The man has a cordial exterior. It is his custom 
to invite you to some hotel where he will probably attempt 
to ply you with liquor. If this should be the case, you could 
probably afford to take one glass with him, or even two, as I 
understand that drinking is the fashion at Harvard, but after 
this refuse politely to do any business with him until the next 
morning. Commit yourself to no agreement which is not made 
over clear, cold water. 

The problem laid down by this letter was truly not simple 
of solution, in the kte eighties trade in Boston was conducted 


with the conservatism and the shrewdness which characterizes 
State Street to-day; although, alas, certain great figures that 
might have conserved fortunes in our last financial debacle 
are now gone forever. Behind the granite facades of State 
Street the business offices were still conducted along the lines 
of old tradition. Many a head of an organization who con- 
trolled vast interests still wrote his own correspondence, kept 
his own books, and saw all customers. The tempo was quiet. 
There was a scrupulous care in small matters which to-day is 
unfortunately lacking. One can picture George Apley, imbued 
with the careless qualities of youth, learning his lesson at this 
hard school. The next letter from his uncle proves that his 
first attempt was not wholly successful. 

Dear George: 

The two hundred bales arrived to-day from Forbes and Son 
and considering the high price paid, 7 J4 cents, this is the poorest 
lot of cotton that has been received at the Apley mills since 
the Civil War. I have spent some time to-day in the classing 
room, pulling the staple of every bale, with the help of Mr. 
O'Shaughnessy, and I am mortified that O'Shaughnessy, who 
has our interests deeply at heart, should know that an Apley 
made such a purchase. 

It is even my impression that you did not examine this 
cotton before purchasing, for surely in your summer here you 
must have become conversant with the length of staple and 
with its importance in the finished product. 1 am further con- 
vinced that Mr. Jessup was the one who approached you and 
that you were in no condition to pull the staple properly or 
to grade its length. I want you to remember that whatever 
tmall profit our family has been able to extract from Apley 
Mills (which is now growing measurably less due to cut-throat 


competition and the vicious disposition of labour) has been 
made by unfaltering attention to such small details. 

Should you see Mr. Saker in the office of the Boston Waifs' 
Society, you may tell him to count on me for my usual con- 
tribution of fifteen thousand dollars. . . . 

There can be little doubt that this experience made upon 
George Apley a profound and permanent impression, for 
many years later we find him alluding to it in a letter to his 
own son, John: 

It is the small things in life which count the most. There is 
nothing which pains me more than your jesting about small 
sums of money. I learned their importance very early, from 
your Great-Uncle William. You must learn that there is a zest 
and a genuine satisfaction to spending money properly as your 
Uncle William spent his. There is not much place in this 
world for personal gratification, nor is this particularly be- 
coming to people of our position. 

During this summer also George Apley visited his father's 
cousin and his own namesake, George Apley, who dwelt in the 
old Apley house on the great Square in Salem. This was an ex- 
perience which also left a wholesome influence and we find 
him writing of it long afterwards in a random paper. 

The romance of our family and its inherent importance in 
this section of the country were never greatly conveyed to me 
until I visited my cousin George in Salem. There, lingering 
in a ghostly way, were the shades of the Orient and Africa. 
The genius of an Apley had built the fine Mclntyre house, and 
had filled it with curious things lacquer boxes, rare em- 
broidery, Chinese ware and Malay swords. Exotic as these 
things were, I could somehow see their connection with the 


Apley Mills and our house on Beacon Street, with my father 
and with my Uncle William, with many things they thought 
and felt, and, indeed, with all of Boston, and the connection 
was very fine. 

In short, when he entered his first year at Law School 
George Apley was maturing rapidly and as always his father 
watched him across the gulf of years and pathos which always 
must divide a father from his son. There is extant a letter of 
about this time, written from New York by Thomas Apley 
to his wife, Elizabeth. 

I am glad to hear from you that George seems to be pur- 
suing his studies and seems to be tranquil. Let us both hope 
that this one escapade of his will be the only one to mar his 
life and that it is now a thing of the past. 1 cannot understand 
why youth to-day seems so much more extravagant and un- 
settled than was the case in our own generation. 1 hope Jane 
seems happier than she has lately. Amelia is really the member 
of the family wh should have been the boy. I am glad to hear 
that George has been calling on Catharine Bosworth. 

Business matters here are very difficult. These Wall Street 
bankers are unstable and have a wholly exaggerated idea as to 
the future growth of this nation. I shall be here for at least 
three weeks longer. If the cook wishes another dollar a week, 
I think you would do better to let her go. These insistent 
demands which come from every section of labour are grow- 
ing very trying. Why these women should want heat on the 
upper floor of Beacon Street is more than I can see. I never 
had any heat in my bedroom when I was young and I doubt 
if you did either. 

Thomas Apley's hope that his son George might be settling 
down was reaching to some extent a species of fulfillment. In 


his second and third year at the Law School one observes an 
increasing interest in his studies. The second summer found 
him again at Apley Falls, striving once more to win the com- 
mendation of his Uncle William Apley, which was accorded 
to him only grudgingly. The keen eyes of William Apley and 
his precise and logical mind estimated the young man's capabili- 
ties. In the following letter to his brother Thomas, the firm 
strokes of an expert penman which are as steady as the legend 
beneath a copperplate engraving betray this insight: 

The greater part of my life up here has been spent* in 
weighing the possibilities of men. The foremen and minor 
officials whom I have selected are almost invariably a success. 
I have seen George and I do not think that he is a business- 
man. If he succeeds me here at Apley Falls I am convinced 
the Mills' earnings will show a corresponding drop. He is 
popular with the men but he is too easy-going. As a cotton 
buyer he has not the shrewdness of soul, and when he sells 
he lacks the pliability, so necessary. He lacks also the capability 
of understanding the other party's intentions. I regret to say 
besides that there is an erratic streak in George. It is my 
experience that when someone "goes off the handle" once he 
may very well repeat the process. 1 am much afraid that in 
him the Apley stock is running wild. It is my belief that he 
should be set up in a law office without too much responsibility, 
where he can eventually become a trustee with the advice of 
effective junior clerk$. I am very sure that George Ayould be a 
successful guardian of other people's money, but not of his own. 
What little he may inherit I strongly advise should be put in 
trust, father than under his own management. 

How closely this advice was followed by Thomas Apley 
will be seen a short time later, and in following it he added 


ammunition for a certain writer of Boston, who shall be name- 
less, but whose article in a recent magazine bears a certain 
distorted element of truth. It seems quite probable, as this 
writer suggests, that the men of Thomas Apley's generation, 
bred in the hard amphitheater of uncertain commercialism, 
were only too prone to distrust the ability of their sons. The 
writer's further hypothesis, however, that large sums which 
had been left in trust have atrophied the abilities of those to 
whom they have been left, is most untrue. Relieved of the 
burden of caring for a large financial estate our leading citizens 
have never shirked their duty to the community. Their mode 
of living has remained plain, their bequests to charities have 
been liberal. Their libraries, their pictures, and their clubs of 
chamber music are not excelled by any in the world. 

Moreover, though one must admit it reluctantly, it is only 
too probable that the judgment of Thomas Apley and his 
contemporaries may have been correct. They may have seen 
more clearly than others the growing complexities of finance. 
It is, at any rate, regrettably true that certain of our larger 
financial institutions which have met in recent years with serious 
reverses, in the present writer's opinion, have not owed their 
misfortunes to lack of integrity on the part of the heads of 
these houses as much as to the fineness of their tradition. 

There is one other piece of firsthand evidence which forms 
a picture of George Apley at this time, given by his tablemate, 
William Prentice of New York, who dined with Apley for 
two years at a Law School luncheon table in Hilliard Street 

I remember Apley well, as someone who was solid and fine. 
I think of him to-day as a true son of New England. I see him, 
lean and a little pale, seated at the table listening to the good- 


natu/ ed chaff and chatter. Sometimes a look of bewilderment 
would cloud his features, but when he understood the joke he 
was always quick to join in the merriment. 

I well recollect when some of us thought it would be highly 
Amusing to have Thomas Rolfe, a somewhat silent and bookish 
member of our group, seat himself inadvertently upon a sheet 
of flypaper, Apley's eyes flashed when this occurred, and I 
don't think that any of us present have forgotten his reproof. 
"Fellows," he said, "that isn't funny." At that time and indeed 
ever afterwards, George Apley was a man's man. His genius 
for h Vndship was unassuming but he made many friends. 



Circumstances Surrounding an Important St*p 
in a Well-Rounded Life 

^TpHOUGH APLEY was a "man's man," he was soon to 
IL become very satisfactorily a woman's man as well. The 
emotions and upsets of courtship, so characteristic of certain 
undisciplined elements in other sections of the country, are, 
fortunately, no part of our best tradition. Here, marriage has 
always been taken in the stride of life, as a sacrament to be 
entered into soberJy, cheerfully and irrevocably. In February, 
1890, Mr. and Mrs. James Bosworth announced the engage- 
ment of George Apley to their daughter, Catharine in 
every way an eminently suitable match, not only from the 
point of view of property but, more important still, from a 
community of healthy tastes and tradition. These two had 
played together in childhood and had trod the same paths of 
youth with a similarity of upbringing which could not but 
make them congenial. The Bosworths, who could boast among 
their ancestors James Bosworth of the Assistants' Court in 
Massachusetts and Ephraim Bosworth, a ringleader in the 
Boston Tea Party, joined the Apleys in expressing their 
pleasure in the approaching union. 


Letter from M rs. James Bosworth to George A-pley 

My dear George: 

Catharine to-day told me her great news in the sweetest 
way, that we were to lose a daughter but were to gain a son. 
Of course, when she spoke of losing a daughter this was a most 
complete jest. Neither her father nor 1 would possibly tolerate 
losing what we hold more dear than life itself. It simply means 
that you will now become a member of our family and join 
our happy circJe. James is already arranging to have the old 
barn at Mulberry Beach made into a very sweet little cottage, 
so that you and Catharine can start your life this summer only 
a stone's throw from us. 

We must both insist on this. I know you will understand, be- 
cause you are your own dear mother's son and must have her 
own sensibility, that Catharine, though she seems robust, is 
ictually very sensitive and is wholly dependent upon her par- 
ents. 1 know that you will not think of separating any of as, 
and that is why James and 1 are both so pleased. . . . 

Letter to George Apley from James Bosworth. 

Dear George: 

1 am still somewhat shaken by our last interview, as my love 
for Catharine transcends my love for anything else. My worst 
fears are allayed by your assurance that we would never be 
separated by any greater distance than the suburban limits. 
Our business talk, coupled with a letter from your father, has 
been eminently satisfactory. It is our joint wish to have you 
two start life comfortably, but simply, and 1 feel that we can 
make the necessary arrangement. . . . 

Among the other letters received by George Apley from his 
family and his many warm friends, all of them expressing the 
pleasure so natural for such a felicitous and suitable occasion! 


it is fortunate that we have the wishes of his father. It ap- 
pears that Thomas Apley was in New York at the time, where 
he was detained, as seems to have been so frequently the case 
in those years, by business negotiations. 

Dear George: 

Your letter reached me at the Park Avenue Hotel this morn- 
ing as I started down to Wall Street. I only wish 1 were out of 
the confusion of this place to tell you at first hand the happiness 
and relief which I must now set down on paper. I have always 
had a feeling that the Apley stock is solid at bottom. We may 
sow our wild oats, 1 was young myself once, but now, 
thank God, we are out of the woods. 

Catharine, whom I am looking forward to greeting as my 
daughter, has always seemed to me a very noble girl and her 
position and yours in the scheme of things are such that there 
will be none of the frictions due to divergent backgrounds, 
which might occur for instance, in a New York and Boston 
union. You have shown the good sense, too, to realize that 
beauty/ is only skin deep and that there are more important 
elements in the holy bond of matrimony. 

The income from the little which your grandmother has left 
you, which is now invested in sound railroad bonds except 
for a few thousand dollars which I used some years ago for 
taking a "flier" in telephone stock and which I will make up 
to you in case this invention eventually becomes only a fad, 
should be enough for you to start a modest establishment. In 
addition to this, I shall continue at least a portion of my allow- 
ance to you. 

This, unless my belief is wrong in Catharine's sagacity as a 
housekeeper, will be enough to keep the wolf from the door. 
Mr. Bosworth has told me that he plans to do the barn over 
for you at his summer place. It happens that I was obliged only 


the other day to foreclose a mortgage on a small dwelling 
house in Gloucester Street. This was one of a parcel of three. 
As I have already turned the other two over at a profit, I have 
nearly cleared this one house on the transaction, and I shall 
turn it over to you as a wedding gift. In order that things may 
not come too easily, however, I am putting a small mortgage 
on it, which your Uncle William has kindly consented to hold, 
and you must be responsible for the interest. 

The time is coming also when you must be launched in 
business, and I shall talk to you soon about a suitable law office 
for you to enter. I am very glad to hear from several older 
men that you are generally well thought of, and that shortly 
your name will come up for the Province Club. There will, 
of course, be no difficulty here, particularly if you separate 
yourself a little more from the amiable nonsense of the Berk- 
ley Club. 

There have been some very disturbing rumours lately that 
a small group of hare-brained meddlers is agitating to have 
the Charles River dammed, so that the flats at the rear of our 
house on Beacon Street, which I have always enjoyed watching 
at low tide, will be covered at all times. This is onJy another 
example of the constant inroads being made* upon the rights of 
Individuals who have had the good sense to amass a small 
amount of property. Something must be done to stop this at 
oncej but I shall talk to you about this on my return. . . . 

The last paragraph of this letter, referring to the project 
of the Charles River Basin, now a veritable jewel of water 
resting on the bosom of our city, may seem curious in the 
light of the present. It was to play a significant and some- 
what sad part in the life of George Apley, as we shall see in 
a later chapter. 


Now, however, we continue on a more happy strain and 
quote a letter from Elizabeth Apley to the bride-to-be: 

My darling, darling Catharine: 

My own dear George himself told his first love, his mother, 
his tender news this very morning. He told it in such a manly 
way, so simply and so sweetly, that I wish you could have been 
there to have heard him. He came up to me at the front win- 
dow, as I was holding a bit of burning tobacco leaf in a dustpan 
to kill the aphids thar have attacked my dear geraniums, and 
he said: "Mother, I think you will be glad to know that Cath- 
arine Bosworth has consented to be my wife." Of course, the 
first thing I did, dear Catharine (and would not any woman do 
the same? ), was to give way to a few tears, as I thought of this 
impending change in my dear boy's life but they were most 
of them tears of gladness. The rest, let me hasten to add, were 
foolish tears betraying the weakness of a fond parent who feels 
that her nest is being broken up and that her brood of dear 
ones is flying from her. But then, as my dear Georgie brought 
me a glass of water, I remembered, as 1 hope you will, that 
Georgie hates tears and I knew how foolish I was. I had only 
to say to myself that I was not losing a son but was gaining a 
dear, sweet daughter how sweet I think 1 know. Indeed, I 
know very well that you will never take my Georgie from me, 
for nothing can sever the love of a mother for her son. I know 
that you will let Georgie and me have as many friendly, play- 
ful chats as we ever had before. I know that you will realize 
as well as I do that George is a dear, sensitive boy who needs 
a mother's understanding. I know that you must love the same 
things in George that I love and we two will share that love 
together. Darling, darling Catharine, will you come to me this 
afternoon so that we may have a quiet and intimate little talk? 


There are so many things that I can tell you about dear 
George. . . . 

This interest in and this solicitude for the welfare of George 
Apley forms the theme of letters from many other relatives, 
since the position of both the Apley and the Bosworth families 
was such as to render the approaching union one of extraordi- 
nary significance. That friendly concern for the affairs of others 
which so characterizes our society gave rise to inevitable specu- 
lation as to the future happiness of the fortunate young couple. 
The devotion of Catharine Bosworth's father on the one hand 
and of George Apley's mother on the other received a par- 
ticular and deserved meed of praise from all who knew them. 
Thus the correspondence nearly all deals at length with efforts 
to make George Apley understand the sacrifices of these two 
parents. The letter of his Uncle Horatio Brent is almost the 
only one which sounds a slightly different note. 

Dear George: 

I must congratulate you on marrying Catharine Boswortb 
but I wonder whether you know exactly what marriage means. 
It is, my boy, a damnably serious business, particularly around 
Boston. Remember, George, that you not only marry a wife 
but also your wife's entire family. Much as you may love your 
wife, it is hard even with all the good will in the world sud- 
denly to love the whole new group of extraneous people who 
fall your way, simply because they are relatives of your wife. 
You're fortunate in that you know most of these people already 
but you are going to know them differently now. I'm afraid 
you're going to find it a little hard to love old Bosworth. I 
know I never did, but don't let me discourage you. 

What bothers me most is that I am afraid you don't know 


much about women. I didn't when I married your aunt, but 
I know a great deal now and I have been around a bit in my 
time. 1 think it might be a very useful thing if you were to 
have Junch with me at the Club and Jet me give you a few bits 
of advice which are not printed ordinarily in books. I feel 
sure you'll need it later. Personally, I never became so seriously 
interested in sport as I did after I was married. By this au- 
tumn you may want to go with me down to Carolina for the 
quail shooting and next spring we must go up to Muskeg 
River where 1 have salmon rights. The great thing about mar- 
riage is not to think too much about it. Your affectionate 
uncle, . . . 

It is the writer's belief that nearly any man must look back 
to this important period in his life with somewhat mingled 
emotions, in that the new social contacts and this new and 
beautiful relationship cannot but cause a certain amount of 
mental confusion. The excitement resultant from the prepara- 
tions for the event probably explains why the bridegroom is 
so frequently an abject and harassed object by the time he 
finally approaches the altar. It explains, too, the reason for 
many unfortunate crises. Thus the writer can recall, without 
mentioning names, as indeed many others also must recall who 
read these pages, several persons with the very best background 
who have disappeared from Boston on the eve of matrimony. 
Most of these have re-established their position at some time 
later, but two, to the writer's certain knowledge, have never 
been heard of since; and it may be added that their names are 
now never mentioned by their relatives. Though George 
Apley was of a different stamp, he revealed something of the 

turbulent uncertainty which has beset so many, in a letter to 

his intimate friend Winthrop Vassal. 


Dear Winty: 

Thanks for your note about Catharine. I know that I am 
very, very fortunate, because I don't know what she sees in 
me. She is so vastly finer in every way than I am, more gener- 
ous, more intelligent and a great deal more sensitive. There is 
one thing about her 1 did not know until after we were en- 
gaged. For several years Catharine has been collecting butter 
knives, and she now has one of the best collections in the 
country. That is quite remarkable, isn't it? What with prepara- 
tions for our house in the country, and what with wedding pres- 
ents coming in, and what with everyone being so kind and 
anxious to help there cannot be kinder people in the world 
than those in Boston I don't know exactly where I am or 
what I am doing. Everyone wants to give us tea parties and 
dinners. My Uncle William has already sent his wedding pres- 
ent, a fourteenth-century tapestry; it must be put somewhere 
where he will see it, but I don't know where. Uncle Horatio 
has sent me a pair of Irish setters and 1 don't know where I 
am going to keep them either, particularly as it appears that 
Catharine doesn't like dogs. Aunt Hancock has sent me a 
dining-room table, and so it goes. Marriage is a very serious 
business, Winty. Catharine has set the seventeenth of June for 
the wedding. What frightens me more than anything else is 
that 1 may never see my old friends again. We must all stay 
together, Winty, things must be the same between us. You 
and Mike and Chick and I and the'old crowd at the Club 
mustn't drift apart. . . . 

This deep concern of George Apley, not indeed unusual to 
one who is embarking on a new and untried stage of existence, 
that the friends of his own incarnation might be leaving him, 
should have. been yery quickly dissipated by the loyalty of 
these same friends at numerous small dinners which they gave 


him in the interval between his engagement and his marriage 
in early June. Nevertheless, though Apley was fully aware, 
as he often said himself, that he was the happiest man in the 
world, he often gave way on such occasions to a strain of senti- 
mental sadness. This was particularly true at his own bachelor's 
dinner, attended of course by the ushers, among whom the 
present writer, his old friends, Chickering, Walker, and Vassal, 
and several of his contemporary cousins were numbered. The 
writer remembers this occasion very well indeed. Though not 
unlike many others which he has attended, the group around 
the table was of the best. With such people around the board, 
all from very much the same section of life and each known 
so well to the other, there was no need for anyone to display 
the care or reticence which his caution and sense of fitness 
might have demanded of him at another time and place. The 
atmosphere in the private dining-room of the Parker House 
was one of a complete and unalloyed friendship as course fol- 
lowed course. Thomas Apley, sensing the importance of this 
dinner, had sent over a half-dozen Madeira which had been 
to Charleston and back in ballast fifty years before, and had 
instructed the management to serve unlimited champagne. 
Vassal told several of his inimitable stories and WaJker sang 
songs in his fine baritone until everyone in the room, in- 
cluding the waiters, joined the chorus. Then there followed 
a round of toasts, one given by the writer himself. It was 
noticed at the time that Apley seemed distrait, but no more 
so than might be expected, until the company, each placing a 
foot upon the table, sang "Should auld acquaintance be for- 
got . . . ?" at which point Apley actually gave way to 
tears. This sign of emotion was received with hearty applause, 
marred only by a display of carelessness on the part of one of 


the guests, who stepped out of a window. The dining-room, 
fortunately, was on the second story, so that a broken arm and 
two shattered front teeth were the only results of an accident 
that might have cast a gloom on the whole company. 

The wedding, which was solemnized behind the brownstone 
facade of the Arlington Street Church, was, as has already been 
said, an occasion of importance. The agitation of George Apley, 
as he waited in the small cloakroom, could readily be explained 
if one took a glimpse at the pews of that great edifice. Like 
many another happy bridegroom, he was pale and perspired 
freely, and several of his remarks may be quoted as completely 
characteristic of one in his position. 

"Good God," he said, "is everyone in the world here?" 
Shortly afterwards he said in a spirit of pure facet iousness: 
"Perhaps Catharine has backed out but she wouldn't, would 
she?" Later he said: "Has it ever occurred to you that mar 
riage is an accident?" And finally he added, "Well, this is the 

This perturbation and bewilderment left him when he 
stepped before the altar to meet his bride; he was calm though 
pale, and he made his responses in a clear, firm voice. Catharine 
Bosworth, in the lace veil and the wedding gown which had 
been worn by her mother and her great-grandmother and had 
been altered only to fit a different figure, was a truly beautiful 
bride. When she cast back her veil and the united couple 
walked side by side down the aisle on the straight path of their 
married life they both seemed happy and relieved. The.ensu- 
ing reception at the dwelling of Mrs. Penn Scott, the aunt of 
Catharine Bosworth, on Louisburg Square, was solemn, staid, 
and beautiful. The line of carriages driving to the house 
stretched well into Charles Street, and the fresh green leaves 


of June upon the streets around the Square were symbolically 
significant. The young couple stood by the rear windows of the 
great parlor, behind an embankment of ferns, mosses, and wild 
flowers gathered by Elizabeth Apley's directions from Hill- 
crest in Milton 5 and thus George Apley and Catharine Bosr 
worth were embarked on their new responsibility of marriage. 

It may be added that marriage in those days was a more 
serious matter than it is at present, where the possibility of the 
breaking of ties may from the first be treated plausibly. At 
the time of George Apley's marriage such an eventuality was 
beyond even faint consideration, and this is the reason, as the 
author earnestly believes, that so much of the life of his period 
moved tranquilly without friction. Those concessions so neces- 
sary in the bond of matrimony were more readily arranged 
because, in a sense, they were inevitable. 

It was Catharine Bosworth's wish to spend their two weeks' 
honeymoon at some point distant from Boston where both she 
and her husband might be intrigued by a change of scene. She 
had therefore selected the Narragansett House at Rye Beach, 
New Hampshire, and thither the young couple repaired. She 
could not have made a happier selection or one more tempera- 
mentally suited to them both. 

The following is a letter written to the author by George 
Apley at this time. 

Dear old Will: 

Thank you very much for everything. I am feeling like an 
old married man already. Though the Narragansett House is 
rather "swell" it is at the same time comfortable. I am a little 
glad and I think Catharine is, too, to be such a long way from 
friends. Hardly anyone here knows us and though Portsmouth 
is near by, Portsmouth is not as closely knit as Boston. I have 


a sense of great freedom looking at the sea. Catharine says we 
never really knew each other until we came here, and I am 
inclined to agree with her. In the morning we generally go for 
a long walk whether it is raining or not. In the afternoon we 
drive, although the local livery is very expensive considering 
what they give us. At teatime we read Whittier and his descrip- 
tions of this part of the country chime in very well with our 
mood. In the evening when Catharine is not busy writing 
"thank-you" notes for our presents I read to her out of Emer- 
son, while she starts crocheting a bedspread. This consists of a 
number of squares which she .will eventually sew together. She 
needs a hundred and sixty of these squares and has finished 
eight. When I told her it would take a long time to finish she 
said that there would be a long time to finish it in, and I daresay 
she is right. 

We are moving to Mulberry Beach next week. Catharine's 
mother has been through a number of old trunks in the attic, 
looking for curtains. She found there some of her grand- 
mother's brocade curtains, which Mrs. Bosworth had entirely 
forgotten. They were better than the ones she had intended to 
give us but as she had forgotten them entirely, she decided to 
give them to us at any rate. You see, Mr. and Mrs. Bosworth 
came yesterday and are now staying with us at the Narragan- 
sett House. Catharine is pleased, because two weeks alone if 
rather a long time. . . . 



The Writing and the Results of Alley's 
"Jonas Good of Cow Corner*' 


ULBERRY BEACH on the North Shore must be as 
dear to-day to the children of George Apley as it is 
to the author himself, for they have shared in common its 
wildness and its beauty. They have seen the rocky islands and 
the headlands of Cape Ann in sunshine and in storm. They 
have taken the same walks and have known something of the 
society which existed there before the turn of the last century 
and shortly after it. In those days of the horse-drawn vehicle, 
the trolley car and the bicycle, Mulberry Beach was at its best. 
Its summer residents who tnrilt their rambling shingled cot- 
tages along its cliffs came almost exclusively from near-by 
Boston. The gatherings at the Mulberry Club, which boasted 
one of the first turf tennis courts and later one of the early 
nine-hole golf courses, were intimate and. friendly. With the 
coming of the automobile and with the advantages of our 
North Shore being finally recognized by New York, Baltimore, 
and the Middle West, Mulberry Beach has changed for the 
worse, although in sections much of the old tradition still 
prevails. At the time when the young Apleys took up their 


residence in the barn of the Bosworth estate, "The Oaks," the 
Mulberry Club was unpretentious and the Yacht Club only 
a small building for the storage of oars and other gear. The 
simplicity may indeed be gauged by the existence of a cove in 
the rocks where men and boys of the colony customarily bathed 
in the nude of a Sunday afternoon. The beach to-day has been 
changed by the chauffeurs and extraneous personalities from 
other parts of the United States. Professor Chiswick of the 
Harvard Observatory no longer talks of a summer Saturday 
night to an audience at the Mulberry Club about the mysteries 
of the stars, nor does Godfrey Hallowell Rogers, author of 
"A Century of American Criticism," sail in his twenty-foot 
catboat or discourse on literature, nor does Mrs. Salter Trask 
have her Thursday Mornings of essays and conversations, nor 
does Dr. Stanhope, who did so much toward importing un- 
usual shrubbery for the extensive plantings in the Fenway, any 
longer tend his garden. The Wanderers' Bicycle Club is gone, 
and so are the singing parties by evening bonfires. In short, the 
tide of time has swept away many of the personalities and the 
ideas which made life intellectually and socially agreeable. In 
their place is the Mulberry Beach of to-day with its swimming 
pools, its bridge parties, and that abomination of social inter- 
course the cocktail party, its golf tournaments, its tennis tourna- 
ments, its S-boats and its Q-boats. This change, the writer is 
sure, is in no sense for the better. 

There is a consolation that something of the old life still 
remains. Not all these newcomers, seeking to gain social pres- 
tige by the weight of new-found wealth, have always been 
immediately received. There are many out-of-town families 
whom no one knows, although they have purchased neighbor- 
ing estates and have lived on them each summer for over 


twenty years. In this connection there is an amusing, though 
significant story, connected with a Cleveland family which 
came to Mulberry Beach with the idea, presumably, of gaining 
some indirect social distinction by being members of this com- 
munity. At the end of the summer, the head of the house was 
heard to remark that he had met everyone. Although ne had 
heard much of Boston manners and cultivation, he asserted that 
he might as well have spent the summer in Cleveland, or some 
place worse. On being questioned further, it appeared that he 
and his family had made their acquaintances on the beach every 
afternoon! Coming from an inland city, they had not realized 
that beaches in the afternoon are customarily left open to the 

Such, in brief, is the community where George Apley spent 
his summers for several years; and it is not strange that Cath- 
arine Bosworth was reluctant to go elsewhere, for "The Oaks" 
in those days was wholly delightful. 

A place had been found for Apley with the firm of Reid and 
Smith, which was already noted for its management of real 
estate and for its searchings of titles. George Apley's inquiring 
turn of mind during the hours he spent in the Registry of 
Deeds soon bore fruit in a significant way which added not a 
little to his reputation. It had been intimated to him in August 
that there was a vacancy in the Browsers 1 Club, one of the many 
dinner clubs in Boston, founded in the Golden Age of New 
England literature, and he received an invitation to become a 
member. As it would consequently be his task sometime in the 
early winter to read a paper, the idea occurred to him to trace 
in some detail the history of a certain Boston business corner in 
Y^hich his firm was interested. The search for the title had 
taken him back to the holdings of one Jonas Good, who owned 


this same corner, then situated on a way known as "Cow Lane' 1 
in 1636. On that first summer of his marriage he proposed to 
trace in a discursive paper the vicissitudes of this property and 
its owners from Jonas Good to the present. One Saturday after- 
noon, after a game of tennis, at which George Apley was be- 
coming something of an adept (indeed two years later he was 
champion of Mulberry Beach), he broached this idea of a 
paper to the present writer. At the time he was fully aware of 
the seriousness of his undertaking and of what it involved in 
the way of accuracy and research. It was largely due to the 
interest of Catharine Bosworth that he persisted in what he 
then started. 

Letter to Elizabeth Apley. 

Dear Mother: 

I will give you three guesses what I am doing and not one 
of your guesses will be right. 1 am working on a paper which I 
am thinking of calling "Jonas Good and Cow Corner." I know 
how interested you will be, as you have always urged me to do 
something of the kind. Catharine takes the matter so seriously 
that I sometimes think it is more her paper than my own. Each 
evening before supper, after the drive from North Beverly, 
she has pen and ink ready in the parlour and sets me to work 
while she does her sewing. She asked me to thank you par- 
ticularly for the little blanket which you knitted. She says it is 
the prettiest of all. . . . 

One of the most lovable characteristics of George Apley was 
his desire to give pleasure to others and on this occasion the 
results surely equaled his expectations. The answering letter 
from Elizabeth Apley is not only full of tenderness but ring* 
with a triumphant sense of maternal vindication. 


I have always known [she writes] how wonderful my own 
dear boy is, and now I am sure that the world is going to know. 
Many of your ancestors on my side have been literary, George. 
That you should have inherited this gift is to me like the pass- 
ing on of a torch, and may the flame be bright ! 

I do not believe I have ever told you this but it is a memory 
which I have always treasured. Louisa May Akott saw you 
once when she attended one of our tea parties at Hillcrest. I 
shall never forget how her kind face lighted up when she 
reached out and touched you, while everyone in the Hillcrest 
parlour leaned forward to hear what she would say. "Perhaps 
he will be a writer like you, dear Elizabeth," she said. It was 
at a time when I had published a bit of poetry in the Atlantic 
which dear Dr. Holmes was kind enough to feel had merit 
That night I prayed that her prediction might be true and now 
my prayer is answered. 

My only fear is that Catharine does not understand the sig- 
nificance of your undertaking and what it will mean to her and 
you in after-life, since dear Catharine must be now somewhat 
preoccupied with her own sweet secret which now is mine since 
you told me. I am sending your own dear little porringer and 
mug, because I know it will be a boy, 

Thomas Apley's reaction, although perhaps not as enthusias 
tic, clearly betrays his latent pride. 

Dear George: 

I have to-day established a trust fund for the new Apley 
who I trust will be with us before long, the income of which- 
when compounded and suitably re-invested should much more 
than equal the principal at the end of twenty years. I am very 
glad that you are writing a paper, particularly as it has pleased 
your mother, who has been in a rather serious nervous condi- 
tion since the inexplicable actions of your sister Jane. I must 


talk to you about this in private sometime this week. In the 
meanwhile I am considering placing Jane under the care of 
Dr. Colton at his place in Brookline where she may do some 
simple handwork. 

I am much pleased that you have started to write papers, as 
this sort of work creates a very favourable impression and opens 
many doors which might otherwise be closed to you. If you 
can do a sufficiently good article I do not see, everything else 
considered, why you cannot be on the Harvard Board of Over- 
seers by the time you are thirty-five. There is nothing more 
useful than combining scholarship with business. If you are too 
"busy to attend to all the small details of this paper yourself, I 
"know a young instructor in History who would be very willing 
<to help you for a small sum. He did very well for me, looking 
up facts, brushing up details, and fixing the language in a paper 
I prepared on banking, which I read before the Saturday Con- 
sideration Club, although the actual work on the paper was en- 
tirely mine and purely my own idea. . . . 

This last suggestion displays a doubt in his son's capacity 
common to many a father. But the present writer can say from 
firsthand knowledge that George Apley availed himself of 
no such assistance. His paper, '"Jonas Good and Cow Corner," 
was entirely original with him in conception and execution and 
manifested a diligence and a conciseness of thought which were 
peculiarly his own. Those who were privileged to read it before 
it reached its final draft could foretell accurately the impression 
which it would make when it should finally be read before the 
Browsers' Club. As it happened, these predictions fell short 
of the actual result. We are fortunate in having the scene de- 
scribed by the Club's secretary in a volume of the minutes of 
the meeting. 


After the coffee and cigars were served, the evening's host, 
Mr. Theodore Caldwell, called for the Treasurer's Report, 
which showed a deficit of seventeen dollars and thirty-three 
cents, the Club's contribution to a fund for protest to the City 
Council against improvements about the Frog Pond on the 
Common. After the report was accepted our new member, 
Mr. George Apley, read for an hour and ten minutes an ab- 
sorbing paper entitled "Jonas Good and Cow Corner." In it 
Mr. Apley traced, with painstaking thoroughness, the fasci- 
nating vicissitudes of this well-known parcel in the North End 
of Boston, and showed how it had been deeded to one hundred 
and fifteen owners from the time of Jonas Good to its present 
owner, Luigi Martinelli, who now maintains a restaurant and 
a laundry on the site. Trenchantly and briefly, yet with an un- 
deviating devotion to historical fact, Mr. Apley gave a sketch 
of the various personalities connected with u Cow Corner," 
even going so far as to locate the sites where fifty-six of them are 
now buried. This work of Mr. Apley's held the attention of 
every member about the table, not only because of its scholar- 
ship and veracity, but because of the indirect method he used 
to display the ironies and the pathos of the growth of Boston 
from the time it was a village of cowpaths to our present 
metropolis. At the close of the paper our senior member, Pro- 
fessor Judson Hall, made the unqualified statement that this 
was one of the five best studies which he had heard during his 
fifty years' attendance at the Browsers' Club, a statement which 
was heartily seconded by other members. 

Nor did the matter end here, since those who had heard 
"Jonas Good and Cow Corner" went forth to spread its praises. 
To one who understands the significance of the Browsers' Club, 
it will be clear that the importance of its commendation can- 
not be overemphasized. The congenial membership of thi* 


organization, made up from Harvard University, the Bar, 
State Street, Beacon Hill and Beacon Street, was maintained 
after a strict tradition laid down by its founders. On the night 
in late November when George Apley sat down at table, he was 
known only because of his family connection. When he rose 
from that table he was known for his own intrinsic worth, and 
thus almost overnight he took his place with the intellectual 
element of the city. It may be added that President Charles 
Eliot himself read this work, which was privately printed a 
week later, and commented upon it favorably; and it is now 
too well known to those who read this book to make any re- 
capitulation necessary. It formed, incidentally, the basis of 
many of his future efforts and gave a new and permanent direc- 
tion to his life. Other groups, eagerly alert for merit, were 
quick to recognize the potentialities of George Apley j so that 
somewhat to his surprise and embarrassment, for quiet 
modesty as to his own attainments was a trait which Apley 
never lost, he found himself the recipient of a number of 
flattering invitations to take his place in other organizations of 
a social and cultural nature, including the Historical Society, 
the Colonial Society, the Board of Selections for the House-to- 
House Library, the Centennial Club, and many of the other 
evening Clubs, generally named for a day in the week, which 
reflect so accurately the cultural aspirations of our city. Thus 
it may be safe to say that "Jonas Good and Cow Corner" not 
onl) gave George Apley a knowledge of his own capacity," but 
made him face the full impact of our actual cultural life. 

To gauge the effect which this life cannot help but have upon 
an individual, it may not be amiss to pause for a moment to 
indulge in a brief description. 

It is the writer's belief that few of us, though we have spent 


a lifetime in our city, fully realize the time and attention which 
is given to intellectual and artistic pursuits. In the early nine- 
ties, the impetus toward scholarship and cultivation which haJ 
been given Boston by her Motleys, her Prescotts, her Lowells^ 
her Emersons, her Clarks, her Everetts, her Hales, and her 
Hunts was now reaching its finest flower. Although the actual 
period of growth may have been over, the complications had 
not ended. It is the writer's belief that no city in the world 
possessed such intriguing facilities for intellectual, artistic, and 
philanthropic stimulation. In proportion as Boston furnished 
the fundamentals for an ideally cultivated life, it is not surpris- 
ing that Boston should have received her share of gibes and 
jests from many larger but less fortunate neighbors. 

That Boston is the center of music is demonstrated by the 
Symphony Orchestra. The Boston art collections and Museum 
Art School are known to everyone, as are, of course, the free 
lectures of the Lowell Institute, not to mention lectures at 
Harvard University, but not all are privileged to step behind 
the scenes to perceive the mass of discussion clubs, chamber 
music clubs, and afternoon lecture clubs which furnish daily 
and nightly serious entertainment for those who are privileged 
to join them, not to mention the various more formal scholarly 
societies which have made the name of Boston famous. In 
addition to these there are the private philanthropies, such as 
the Apley Sailors' Home, whose advertisements often fill an 
entire page of the Boston Evening Transcript. In view of these 
manifold and congenial activities, it is not strange to find 
many who have devoted the better part of their lives tj the 
pursuit and furtherance of them, and this in a measure was to 
be George Apley's future lot. There was little time in those 
days for laziness in Boston. Indeed, the frequent attendance 


at Board meetings, the activities of intelligent discussion and 
the necessity for taking a part in them, have led many of the 
author's acquaintance, toward the end of a Boston winter, into 
periods of great nervous weariness, sometimes ending in 
actual nervous breakdown. The demands made upon the indi- 
vidual were, and still are, in proportion to his willingness to 
meet them, and called for a certain amount of judgment. It 
was George Apley's task throughout his life to face this prob- 
lem } and the tax which it made upon him, in the belief of many, 
materially shortened his span, 

He shows his own amazement, when confronted by this new 
vista, in a letter to his friend, Walker, who was then residing 
permanently in New York. 

For some weeks I have been too busy to send you a line, be- 
cause 1 seem to have "arrived" in Boston. Quite suddenly I 
find myself nearly every evening sitting down to a heavy din- 
ner with learned people, and listening afterwards to a paper 5 
not infrequently many of us go to a later evening party where 
there is music and another evening paper and a supper of 
creamed oysters. Catharine enjoys all these very much, but 
sometimes I don't know that I am entirely up to them. My 
afternoons are now given over to attending the board meetings 
of certain charities. I have been on the Boston Waifs' for some 
time but now I am on half a dozen others. It is all very in- 
teresting but I am somewhat confused and tired. I really don't 
know when I can ever get to see you in New York but I must, 
Mike. I can't and I won't lose touch with my old friends. 
Surely you'll be at the Club dinner in February. I shall be 
there, I don't care what happens. 



Dealing with 

Inevitable Difficulties of a Domestic 
In No Sense out of the Ordinary 

FIRST and only son of George and Catharine 
JJL Apley was born at their house on Gloucester Street, 
March 21, 1891, an event which was hailed with an equal 
enthusiasm by both the Bosworth and Apley families, until it 
appeared that the young couple for some reason best known to 
themselves had reached no mutual agreement as to the name 
of their offspring. They should perhaps have been advised 
by certain well-known disputes regarding the choice of a 
name, and should have taken some precaution. Instead of fore- 
seeing the discord and the clash of wills which would inevitably 
arise, they found themselves without any preparation cast into 
the storm. Though George Apley preserved a calm and con- 
siderate exterior through what must have been an interminable 
family debate, amusing to an outsider but certainly not to him, 
it may be safely said that he felt the strained relations very 
keenly. As he has said himself in another letter to his friend 


Well, Mike, I am the father of a son, and a very strange 
sensation it is, when one comes to think of it. I can understand a 
great deal about my own father now that I am one myself. I 
find myself looking toward the future, wondering what the 
world will be like for him and wondering what I can do for 
him, and even what pieces of silver he will get when 1 am 
dead. I have a strange idea that I should be an example for 
him, though he doesn't need an example yet! Between me and 
oiy son, who looks like a wizened old man in miniature, there 
is already the same formality, the same constraint, and the 
same unnaturalness which I believe have always existed be- 
tween my father and myself. I know the reason now I have 
the same desire that my father has to see my son get on in 
the world. I wish him to do better than I have done, I wish 
him to be happier, although I have every reason to be happy 
enough and more than I deserve to be grateful for. 

I have learned one thing since I have become a parent. I 
thought that he would be my son, but I have been disabused 
of that. It now Appears that Catharine and I have simply been 
the means of bringing another member of the family into the 
world, a baby which belongs to everybody. I can see nothing 
in his features which resembles anything, but everyone else 
can. Mother says he has my nose, my father sees a striking re- 
semblance to the portrait of Moses Apley in the dining-room. 
Mr. Bosworth and Catharine say he is the spitting image of a 
Bos worth, and so say all the Bosworth great-aunts and uncles. 
I do not know exactly what they mean by "spitting image" of 
a Bosworth, but the point is that the Bosworths wish to name 
him one thing and the Apleys wish to name him another. 
Catharine is siding with the Bosworths and I have suddenly 
found that 1 am violently an Apley. God knows how this is 
going to end! 


Many who remember the occasion will recollect that the 
matter became a piece of public property, the justice of which 
was discussed with some acrimony. To one who knows our 
world this is not peculiar, since Boston always has been hos- 
pitable to problems involving a moral issue. The situation 
eventually became regrettably acute between Mr. Bosworth 
and the senior Apley, and each adhered to a definite point of 
view. They even deemed it necessary to place their views in 

Letter from Thomas Apley. 

My dear George: 

I am sending you this note as Mr. Bosworth and I, through 
no fault of mine, are no longer on speaking terms. When he 
approaches you, as he no doubt will in his somewhat hysterical 
manner, 1 should like to have you place these views of mine 
squarely before him. You may show him this letter if you 

It has been the custom in our family and, I believe, in every 
other well-conducted family, to give the first son of a new gen- 
eration one of the Apley names, and these names in my opinion 
have considerably more importance than anything which the 
Bosworths may conceivably contribute. 1 should feel that 1 had 
been very lax in my moral duty if a grandson of mine should 
be anything less than an Apley. Beyond this question of custom 
and social justice, the child from his appearance and manner is 
indubitably an Apley, as is attested by everyone who has seen 
him and who knows the family. He has every one of your 
grandfather's features and his manner of holding himself in 
his bassinet needs no comment from an unprejudiced observer. 
The world is indeed becoming a strange place, and different 


from the world I used to know, when such a matter even admits 
of argument. In my opinion the trouble is entirely due to 
Mr. Bosworth's stubbornness and egotism, which is no doubt 
augmented by that of his wife. 

For reasons which anyone Would understand, it is obvious 
that the child should be named William Apley, after your 
Uncle William, who is not married, and is not likely to be at 
his time of life. Your uncle, as you know, has already mani- 
fested an interest in the child, and has opened a five dollar ac- 
count for him in the Water Carriers' Savings Bank. 1 need not 
tell you that this interest is important. I must only add that 
the matter is entirely up to you. You have justice on your own 

'Letter from Mr. Bosworth. 

My dear George: 

I feel that 1 must write to you as the father of my dear only 
child, your wife. You know, better than most, how close and 
how very precious Catharine has always been to me. I wish 
you to understand my point of view, and to Jay it before your 
father, because, on account of his well known high temper and 
a baseless arrogance, we are no longer on speaking terms. 

Dear Catharine's wish is always the same as mine, and at 
such a time as this, when she has made the greatest sacrifice to 
you that woman can make in this world, the least you can do is 
to heed her wish. Not unnaturally she wishes and 1 wish too 
that her little son should be named Theophilus Bosworth 
Apley. Catharine's mother feels, as do the rest of the family, 
that this concession is only right and should be conceded grace- 
fully. No one can deny that the child has every resemblance to 
the Bosworths, and that already he is a Bosworth through and 
through. I am sure that you will see the justice of everything 
I say, and will do what you can to make it right. 


The difficulty finally resolved itself, and the child was given 
the name John Apley, the given name being common to both 
the Bosworth and the Apley families. When their second child 
was born a girl she was named Eleanor, distinctly a Bos- 
worth name. 

It is difficult in a life as active as that of George Apley to do 
justice individually to his many interests and actually this task 
cannot be wholly accomplished, nor need it be, for it is the 
author's single purpose to give the portrait of the man. At 
this time his life was that of many of his contemporaries, di- 
vided between his work in the law office, where he became a 
partner in the year r897, his duties as trustee and director of 
various enterprises which we shall list later, as business was al- 
ready paying him its tribute, and finally his clubs and his 
charities. These were making his life a very full one and were 
drawing him somewhat away from home. 

u The Apley 1 knew in the nineties," one of his friends has 
written, u seemed to be always shy in the company of women. 
He did not try actually to avoid them; he treated them with 
invariable respect, but he seemed often puzzled and subdued 
by their attitude of mind. In their society he was far from 
being the Apley whom we knew and loved at the Club. At the 
Club, on Tuesday afternoons when many graduates made it 
their duty to go to Cambridge to lunch with the undergraduate 
members, George Apley lost most of his shyness and reserve. 
He was the Apley that we knew in the old days, carefree and 
hill of merriment. He seemed to welcome these interludes 
with distinct relief, particularly as time went on, just as he 
welcomed his long vacations on cruises and in the woods. I 
remember a remark he made to me once which seems to me 
peculiar in view of the fullness of his life: *1 seem to be busy 


all the time but I don't seem to be doing anything. I "seem to 
be getting nowhere.' " , 

The author has heard other friends of his too many 
make this same remark. He believes that it reflects merely the 
restiveness of a man who sees the course of his life lie clear 
ahead. This restiveness of Apley's is characteristic of the man, 
but on the whole he overcame this handicap. He was wrong, 
as he probabJy knew himself, in the feeling that he was getting 

A conscientious sense of public spirit, which is one of the 
finest attributes of his environment, was bringing him into 
city affairs. It was here that he encountered, both to his amuse- 
ment and to his amazement, certain professional politicians 
who represented an element hitherto unknown to him 5 and 
here also he took a side in one of those controversies resulting 
from the growth of the city which had for him painful con- 
sequences, in that he was forced from a sense of duty to take 
issue with his father, Thomas ApJey. This decision of his was 
the more difficult as the senior Apley had been in poor health 
for some time. It was clear co those who knew him that the 
strain of business in the depression of the period was taking a 
severe toll on the older man, and that he was losing something 
of his old skill in negotiation, but none of his determination. 

We have quoted in one of Thomas Apley's letters his hos- 
tility to the project of what is now the Charles River Basin, a 
hostility that was shared by many owners of real estate on the 
water side of Beacon Street. When a more progressive group, 
made up mostly of younger men, proposed building a dam so 
that the mud flats of Beacon Street would be permanently 
;overed, Thomas Apley was one of the first organizers of a 
defense organization which employed the best legal talent to 


stop what was considered an encroachment on the landholders 1 
rights. He also set forth his opinion clearly in a letter to the 
Boston Evening Transcript. 

It is beyond my ability to see [Thomas Apley wrote] what 
good can come of this extravagant expenditure of public sums, 
or why Boston should want another pool of stagnant water 
at her gates. There is enough water around Boston; there are 
enough stagnant pools in the Fens already. The Charles River, 
which now bears daily on its rising tide the invigorating salt 
water of Boston harbor, will become a pestilential mud-hole, 
a breeder of disease. This proposed step is also an infringement 
upon owners' rights. The clams on the mud flats will be 
killed. Many owners whose drains flow into the river will be 
forced to take other measures. Much of the river beauty to 
which we have been used for a lifetime will be irreparably 
ruined and why? It will be done to gratify the unbalanced 
whim of a small group who beheve there are not sufficient 
places for the citizens of Boston to walk and play. It is nut the 
purpose of those who built upon the Charles River to have 
playgrounds in their back yards. The Boston Common was 
intended for recreation, and also the Public Gardens; and these 
generous contributions to the city's welfare are enough. 

Issues have always been evenly drawn in Boston, when; 
high-minded men and women have been quick to take sides on 
a question of right and wrong. In this instance the issue was of 
supreme importance, for it involved a radical change in the 
very appearance of the city, a physical change greater than any 
which has since eventuated. Knowing the force of his father's 
desire, the stand of George Apley is a tribute to his courage 
and his sense of public spirit. Deliberately, clear-mindedly, 
knowing full well that he would strain many ties of family 


and friendship, we find George Apley lending his name to the 
cause of the would-be builders of this dam. Nor was it his way 
to be content with a passive interest. He was actually present 
at several State House hearings, although he did not speak. 

The shock incurred by the elder Apley as a result of this 
defection can only be gauged by those familiar with what is 
now, alas, almost a dead generation the firsthand builders 
of New England. That their works and much of their fortunes 
still continue so many years after their death is evidence enough 
of their vitality in life. George Apley himself has left an 
account of this scene in a memorial sketch which he wrote of 
his father. It was read before the Centennial Club, and after- 
ward before the Board of the Apley Sailors' Home, and later 
still, was privately printed for circulation in the family. The 
quotation we give has a vivid significance and indicates some- 
thing of the latent power behind George Apley's pen. 

This scene and I believe it was the only time I ever 
crossed my father occurred toward the end of his> life, in his 
private office at Apley Brothers. The simplicity of that office, 
with its sea-coal fire, its he^vy roll-top desk, and its two oil 
paintings of former Apley ships, was a part of my father's own 
simplicity. 1 remember his siJk hat beside the letter-press, for 
he never gave up his custom of going to business in a silk hat 
and a Prince Albert coat. At that time he was in his seventieth 
year, but he was remarkably well preserved. Except for one 
other occasion I had never seen him as greatly agitated. He was 
striding up and down the carpet before the fire, alternately 
clasping his hands behind him and pulling at his iron-gray side 
whiskers. As I look back upon them, some of the things he said 
have an almost prophetic significance. 

"Thunderation, George;" he said, an expression he used 


only when deeply stirred, "I do not care as much for the water, 
as I do for the principle of the thing. It is a bitter blow, at my 
time of life, to know that my son has turned traitor to his 

I tried to explain to him that my position in the matter 
was actuated entirely by a sense of common good, that 1 could 
only conscientiously do what I was doing because of the public 
welfare. 1 tried to explain the benefits which would accrue to a 
vast number of people, but he raised his hand in a signal for 
me to stop. 

u lt isn't that," he said, "it is the principle of the thing. There 
is ruin in this sentimentality. You do not understand, and I fear 
you never will understand, that affairs will always be con- 
trolled by a small group. I, and my group, have controlled 
them, but you young men are all weak. It is not a pleasant 
thing for me to feel that the Irish are going to run the affairs 
of this city, and 1 do not see anyone in your generation who 
has the force and skill to guide them. This talk about the com- 
mon good is arrant Socialism and nonsense. You and 1 do not 
stand for the common good. We stand for a small class; but 
you don't see it. Thunderation! Nobody sees it but me and my 
contemporaries. It is our fault, I suppose, that our sons will 
never handle business and affairs as we have handled them. 
You represent to me the definite end of an era. When control 
is gone, and it is slipping fast, Boston will become moribund, 
atrophied ; and 1 for one shall be very glad to leave it." 

I tried to explain to him that this was not so, and I quoted 
certain persons whose opinion 1 knew he respected, but with 
that prescience and insight of his he stuck unerringly to his 

u That is all academic bosh," he said. "For decoration, it is 
well enough; but actually it is stuff and nonsense. This is the 
end, and I am very, very sorry. Think of it this way, if you like. 


I am an old man now; when I was young there were great men 
in Boston and they were here because they were men like me. 
Where are they now? Mark my words, this place is becoming 

My father was deeply moved as he spoke and definitely con- 
vinced of what he said. I do not think that he ever understood 
that the individual must conform to a new era. Yet, I some- 
times wonder if in certain respects he was not right. There 
are surely no men like Thomas Apley left in Boston. With 
all respect for their integrity it sometimes seems to me that 
many of the men I know to-day are only feeble reflections of 
my father and his friends. It sometimes seems to me that my 
father's generation did all there was to do, and left nothing to 
the rest of us. Thus we have been left in a curious position. 
Most of us have obeyed the older generation so implicitly that 
now they are gone there is nothing left but to continue in the 
pattern they have laid down for us. Or is it that we have not 
the originality to change that pattern? Or is it that we have 
not the wish? It may be, like the Chinese, that we are finally 
ending in a definite and static state of ancestor worship, that 
the achievements of the past are beyond our present capacities. 
My father was that past. 

This last paragraph in George Apley's memorial, as the re- 
tult of maturer consideration, was never read in public, nor did 
it appear in print. It remains in the original manuscript, with 
pencil marks crossed through it, and is only quoted here be- 
cause it shows Apley in one of his more erratic moods. In 
allowing himself to embark on such totally inaccurate lines of 
speculation, George Apley was indulging in a tendency which 
some of his more intimate friends found both annoying and 
alarming, although those who knew him best always under- 
stood that he was merely voicing an unconsidered whim. 


It has always been the author's belief that in this clash with 
his father George Apley gained somewhat in stature; that he 
had afterwards an assurance which had been lacking before. 
The results he faced were even more serious than those indi- 
cated here, and the weight of them caused his mother to take to 
her bed. His own wife, obeying the dictates of her conscience, 
saw fit to side with Thomas Apley. A species of dissension thus 
arose which could not but have had unhappy consequences. But 
this was dissipated by an important piece of news. In the 
spring of 1898, when the Spanish War crisis was at its height, 
George Apley's sister Amelia announced her engagement to 
Newcomb Simmings. It need not be added that this was an 
important and interesting match. The Simmings Mills, situ- 
ated on the Merrimack above Apley Falls, still indicate how 
welcome a union of these interests was to both the Simmings 
and the Apleys. There was at this time a very definite belief 
among well-informed persons that the Spanish fleet might 
make a sudden attack upon the Atlantic Coast, and the fortifica- 
tions of Boston were ill-prepared to face such a danger. Al- 
though Thomas Apley had been in bad health for several 
years, he acted with his usual promptness. Collecting his silver 
and securities he commissioned George Apley to convey them 
for safekeeping to a bank in Worcester, and it was during 
George Apley's, absence on this errand that Thomas Apley 
wrote him the following letter. 

Dear George: 

A capital thing has happened since you have been in Wor- 
cester and you must come back at once. It is nothing less than 
that Newcomb Simmings has offered his hand in marriage to 
Amelia. No one could have been more astonished and de- 
lighted than I when Newcomb apprised me of his intentions. 


As you must know he is very comfortably off indeed, so com- 
fortably off that none of us need worry greatly about Ame- 
lia's future. The young man, of whom I am beginning to grow 
very fond now that 1 come to know him, has, it is true, not 
much presence nor many of the Simmings brains, but these 
lacks are more than made up for in other respects. It appears 
that he has admired Amelia from afar for many years, and 
that he finally gained the courage to speak only when he saw 
her here alone in danger. I admire him very greatly, as 1 know 
you will, particularly as 1 have feared for some time that 
your sister would not marry. 1 have blamed her more than 
once for passing many suitable opportunities, but 1 do so no 
longer. . . . 

Letter from Elizabeth Apley. 

Dearest George: 

You have heard the news from your dear father. Amelia is 
leaving the nest. 1 have been afraid she would not and this 
has made me unhappy for Jong, especially as poor dear Jane 
is still under doctors' care. Amelia is such a headstrong girl that 
sometimes I have been a little bit bewildered by her, but I 
know that she and dear Newcomb will get along splendidly. 
The wedding reception, of course, will be at Hillcrest and I 
think it might be well to bring the silver back with you, with- 
out telling your dear father, who is still greatly upset by 
rumours. He has not been at all well lately and cannot 
sleep. . . . 

Letter from Catharine Apley. 

Dearest George: 

I wish you would let me know definitely when you are com- 
ing back, as you have put off coming for two days already. 
Well, Amelia has caught Newcomb. It took her a long time 


but now she really has him. I wish your family were not quite 
as openly pleased as they are. You might think Newcomb was 
a crown prince. I could have married Newcomb myself, as 
you know, but we won't mention that. Johnnie and Nellie are 
doing splendidly and send you love and kisses. . . . 

Letter from George Apley to Amelia Apley. 

Dear Amelia: 

1 was rejoiced to get your letter and with it its budget of 
good news. It seems a strange thing, doesn't it, to think what 
has happened to us both? It does not seem more than the year 
before last that you and I were pulling each other's hair in the 
pantry at Hillcrest, and now here you are getting married. 
Please do not say 1 am patronizing you. 

I must say there is one thing, Amelia, which distresses me 
somewhat in your letter, or rather two things. One, that you 
seem convinced that Father is already dead, though he seemed 
very much alive the last time I saw him a week ago, and second 
that you seem convinced that Catharine and I will reach out 
and take something which is rightfully yours. 

Surely there are enough heirlooms to satisfy you and Jam 
and me, without our having to squabble over them. In fact, 
Hillcrest and Beacon Street are so full of family silver, furni- 
ture, papers and draperies that there is not room for anything 
which is not family. None of our ancestors seems to have 
thrown away anything. 

1 do not know, as you seem to think I do, anything about ths 
provisions of Father's will but 1 should suppose that the furni- 
ture and everything in the house will be left intact during 
Mother's lifetime. And now I suggest that we do not discuss 
this s any further, for such speculations can seldom amount to 
anything. . . . 


Although one cannot dispute the correctness of George Ap- 
ley's attitude, it has been the amiable weakness of many persons 
to speculate upon the possibility of inheritance, a propensity 
which has frequently been encouraged by the very persons 
who have the power of giving or taking. The writer can recall 
several instances where dissension has risen to such an extent 
^that it became public property some ten or fifteen years before 
there was a possibility that the will might be probated. One 
such dispute, which many who read this will remember, arose 
over nothing more important than a badly worn square of 
carpet upon which General Lafayette inadvertently spilled a 
glass of Madeira durinp his visit to Boston in the twenties. 
But differences concerning the Apley estate were little heird 
of outside the family circle; indeed all knowledge of them 
to-day rests only indirectly in the Apley correspondence. If a, 
certain lack of sympathy between George Apley and his sister 
Amelia was apparent after Thomas Apley's death, it may 
safely be ascribed, as they both said themselves, to tempera- 
mental rather than material difficulties. There existed and 
the writer hastens to lay his evidence with that of others 
a mutual sense between those two of the responsibilities of a 
brother-and-sister relationship, and it was foreign to the char- 
acter of either of them to forget these- responsibilities. Thus 
during George Apley's entire lifetime, his sister Amelia sup- 
plied him with unflagging advice and suggestions. Her answer 
to George Apley is characteristic of this spirit. 

Indeed, I wish to grasp at nothing [she wrote], but I think 
you should remember this: You may be the male heir, but I 
am the eldest child. As such, it is my duty to see that the 
house is kept in order. 1 do not think I am wrong in believing 
that I am vastly more interested in 'he family than you are, 


For the last two years I have spent every morning arranging 
the documents and papers of Moses Apley and many of the 
earlier Apley letters. If there should be an examination I am 
confident that I should win over you with high honours, and 
that now the time has come when these sacrifices of mine should 
have some recognition. I shall be glad to give up the silver tea 
set, but I shall feel it very unkind of you if it is not understood 
between us that I shall have the Apley papers to take to our 
new house on Louisburg Square. You may have access to them, 
of course, at any time you may desire. I also should like it un 
derstood that I take the portrait of John Apley, done by Cop 
ley. Newcomb is furnishing our house with sjome things taken 
from the Simmings' country place in Winchester, but they are 
all very hideous. This is hard on one who has been brought up 
surrounded by important and beautiful objects. 

I, for one, do not choose to have my personality as com- 
pletely dominated as yours has been. The Simmings are not go- 
ing to ride rough-shod over me as the Bosworths have over you. 
I shall hope to have the self-respect not to allow myself to be 
dominated by Newcomb as you have been by Catharine. As 
you know, Mother and 1 have been much concerned about this 
for some time, but our advice to you seems to have done no 

It has always been the characteristic of the Apleys and other 
New England families to speak frankly within the famil) 
circle, while preserving at the same time a graceful fagadt 
toward the outer world. This momentary glimpse behind the 
facade simply reveals the temporary impatience of a high- 
minded, kind-hearted, but somewhat impetuous woman. It is 
safe to rely on the understanding of those who read these 
pages, without touching in greater detail upon this problem 
is it affected George Apley's life, particularly as there is no 


answer extant to these observations of his elder sister. The 
answer, however, must have been fully satisfactory, as George 
ApJey served as best man to Newcomb Simmings at the wed- 
ding, although the acquaintance of these two had only been 
casual until this date. 

It is pleasant to recall that this acquaintance ripened rapidly 
into friendship, as it soon became apparent to both Apley and 
Simmings that they had many interests and problems in com- 
mon. Only a month after this wedding, which took place on 
the second of June, George Apley wrote: 

Dear Newcomb:. 

Your invitation to go to your camp in Quebec, even though 
it is the black-fly season, appeals to me strongly and I am grate- 
ful to you, old man, for thinking of me in this connection. It 
does seem, as you suggest, high time that we loosed ourselves 
for a little while from the apron strings which bind us, but this 
cannot be at present. I am on the Board of the Summer Outing 
for the Berkley Club, and I am in charge of decorating the 
new playroom in the Boston Waifs' North End Sanctuary, and 
I have also promised Winty Vassal to sail his sloop with him in 
the forthcoming races. Besides all this, Catharine is very re- 
luctant to have me leave home at present, as I seem to be the 
only person who can make Johnny do his multiplication tables. 
If these reasons were not enough, I find myself faced with the 
necessity of helping Harry Reid with the new investments 
for the Winter estate, which has just reached the office in ten 
large japanned boxes. 

My last and most cogent reason for not accepting your invi- 
tation I reserve until now. Father has been failing very mark- 
edly during the summer. Shortly after your wedding he had 
a spell of vertigo which we did not take seriously at the time. 
Now Dr, Grafton is afraid that it was a slight stroke. He has 


grown more restless and irritable than usual, and is somewhat 
of a trial to Mother, although she is perfectly splendid. In the 
last week he has ordered two of the elm trees at Hillcrest 
chopped down and has had the shrubbery by the stone wall 
near the main road moved ten feet back. These, and other 
similar indications, make me feel that his mind is not altogether 
reliable. 1 believe that he got overtired at the wedding, al- 
though he seemed very pleased at giving Amelia away. 

Well, Newcomb, thanks again for asking me and better luck 
next time, , . . 



The Impact of Becoming the Head of a 

Distinguished Family and Some 

Immediate Consequences 

ON A sultry evening in mid-July Thomas Apley took hi* 
customary two glasses of claret during dinner. His wife, 
who sat opposite him > and other members of the household 
waiting on the table, observed nothing unusual in his manner. 
He discussed with considerable animation the international 
situation, and made it known that he was unalterably opposed 
to further extension of United States territory. He also dis- 
cussed turning the old carriage horses, Tony and Jack, out to 
pasture, since this handsome pair of bays had been in Apley 
harness for over fifteen years and were beginning to show their 
age. (As is welJ known, it was Thomas Apley's policy and 
that of his son after him never to sell a horse from the Hill- 
crest stables.) He next asked with deep interest about the 
health of the second gardener, Patrick Burke, whose hand had 
become badly infected from a nail in the asparagus bed, and 
he then alluded briefly to labor difficulties at the Apley Mills. 
His conversation, in short, was that of an active man interested 
in life. 


Yet I should have known even then [Elizabeth Aplej 
wrote to her eld school friend Cynthia Fellowes] that some- 
thing was very, very wrong with the sweetest husband in the 
world, for he suddenly turned to me and said: "Elizabeth, I 
have been thinking of something. 1 wonder if it would have 
been better if George had married that little Irish girl." Then, 
for the first time, I knew that Thomas Apley's mind and his 
judgment, upon which I had leaned for a lifetime, was not 
what it had been once. "Thomas," I said, "the hot weather has 
made you very tired j you had better not attempt to go to the 
office to-morrow." He replied that he should go to the office 
as he had done always, and then said that he would go to the 
library to read. A few moments later, as I was discussing with 
Norah, our dear waitress, the arrangements for next morn- 
ing's breakfast, I was startled by a heavy fall. Thomas had been 
reaching for one of his favourite Waverley novels. . . . 

He was seized in this act by a fatal apoplectic stroke, never 
regained consciousness, and died an hour after George and 
his sister Amelia reached his bedside. 

"And so passed," George Apley wrote in his memorial, "one 
of the great men of his generation, and one of the greatest men 
whom I have ever known." 

It would be a slur upon George Apley's integrity to doubt 
the absolute sincerity of his statement, that shows the strength 
of Thomas Apley's influence upon his son, and upon his entire 
family. The sure hand of Thomas Apley had guided wife and 
son and daughters benignly and accurately. The shock of 
losing such an influence was correspondingly great. It was only 
when he was removed from their midst forever that they 
realized the full force of his personality and how this per- 
sonality had wound itself into every detail of their lives, and 


how Thomas assumed chivalrously many unnecessary burdens. 
Although he had spoken often of investments, he had been 
characteristically reticent regarding the details of his own 
financial affairs, and thus the provisions of his will came as a 
distinct surprise even to his widow. 

1 had always known [George Apley wrote some years later 
to his son], that we were comfortably off, but until the death 
of your grandfather, whom 1 am glad you were old enough to 
remember, I never dreamed how comfortably off. What he 
did for me, and indirectly for you, was to free us from the 
belittling task of money making, but not from the responsi- 
bility which springs from this freedom. It is a grave responsi- 
bility toward the community and toward others. You will fee] 
it some day as 1 have. I hope you will be fitter than I to meet it. 

It was true that Thomas Apley's will removed from his 
descendants the necessity for commercial livelihood, and it 
was evident that Thomas Apley's great preoccupation in the 
yearb before his death was the building and the conserving of 
an estate. He had arranged for the principal to remain intact 
until the death of his youngest grandchild. In an affectionate 
letter to his son he expressed a disbelief in George Apley's 
ability to handle personally interests of such proportions, thus 
explaining, but not apologizing for, the deed in trust. 

When George Apley was confronted by the actual figures of 
the estate he could not but agree with his father's judgment. 
The bequests in Thomas Apley's will hint eloquently at the 
size of the remainder: To Harvard University, one million 
dollars to be known as "The Apley Fund," the income of which 
to be used to defray the tuition of deserving Protestant students 
from the vicinity of Milton; two hundred thousand dollars for 


the schools at Apley Falls $ one million dollars to the city of 
Boston. In addition to this, there were liberal bequests to 
libraries, historical societies, and to other organizations of 
which Thomas Apley was a member. His office employees and 
the employees at Beacon Street and Hillcrest were also given 
legacies depending on their length of service, and George 
Apley was requested to provide for them in any future 
emergency. His solicitude went beyond the realms of human 
beings down to the dogs and horses on the Hillcrest estate. 
The grounds and gardens at Hillcrest were also endowed by 
a fund to cover taxes and upkeep. The remainder of his prop- 
erty, consisting of his holdings in the Apley Mills, and in a 
diversified list of securities, was placed in trust under William 
Apley and the firm of JLedyard and Hollins. The income was 
divided into four parts to be paid equally to the widow and 
the children. Even with this division the amount was an in- 
tense surprise to everyone concerned. In addition, George 
Apley was appointed the guardian of his sister, Jane, whose 
condition at the time demanded guardianship. 

Until my father's death [George Apley wrote in another 
letter to his son], your mother and I were living on an income 
of ten thousand dollars a year, and this seemed adequate for 
all our needs. It was a great shock to me, as indeed it was to 
your mother, suddenly to find this income increased to such a 
great extent. Its size has caused us no little embarrassment for 
1 have inherited, as I hope you have, a distaste for lavish ex- 
penditure. It has always seemed to me that great establish- 
ments are senseless and egotistical and do not help one's name 
in a community. It is better to think of one's self as a steward 
who owes the community a definite debt j and such I have al- 
ways tried to be, as my father was before me. 


My father once made a remark which I shall now repeat to 
you because it illustrates this attitude. One evening not very 
long before his death, when I was seated with him on the Hill- 
crest piazza watching the gold of the setting sun on the leaves 
of our great elms, I happened to make some casual remark 
about the servants, when my father stopped me by beating im- 
patiently on the floor with his walking stick. "1 do not like the 
word 'servants/ " he said, "when it is employed to differentiate 
a certain class of persons from ourselves. In a sense we all are 
servants, placed here on earth to serve. Some of us, by the will 
and the omniscience of the Divinity, have been given a greater 
task than others j I count myself, somewhat to my sorrow, as a 
member of that group. It is a very grave thought to me to think 
that I may soon have to render an account of my stewardship 
to my Maker. I have held control of some large industries in 
this country and through them I have controlled the lives of 
many people. This is a solemn thought and some day it will 
be a solemn thought for you. There are certain definite obliga- 
tions for one in my position and one in yours and one of 
them is to try to make your life worth while with the advantages 
God has given you. When one is the steward of a large fortune 
one should not dissipate it by useless spending. That is why 
1 have always lived on a small fraction of my income, have re- 
invested another fraction against possible contingencies, and 
have given the rest to charity." This sentiment of my father's, 
I am afraid, is a little archaic to-day, but I am glad to see that 
it is still followed by many. There would be less trouble if 
everyone with property followed it. 

1 should like to give you one specific example of what I 
mean. As you know, for a number of years 1 have been making 
a collection of Chinese bronzes. I have tried to inform myself 
fully about these things, and I have spent much time with 
many wily Oriental dealers. I have not done this because I 


particularly like these bronzes. As a matter of fact, I think 
many of my best ones are overdecorated and look inappropriate 
in the Hillcrest library. I have made this collection out of 
duty rather than out of predilection, from the conviction that 
everyone in a certain position owes it to the community to col- 
lect something. In this way industries are stimulated and 
scholars are given definite occupations. In the end the public 
wil] be the gainer. I had perceived that our Art Museum was 
short of Chinese bronzes and J started my collection at your 
Uncle William's suggestion. They will, of course, be left by 
my will to the Museum, just as your Uncle William proposes 
to leave his own very extensive collection of Chinese ceramics. 
No one in our position should consider himself alone, but first 
he should consider his duty to the community. 

It would be difficult to find a more accurate expression of the 
sentiment which has actuated so many individuals in our 
group. It may be true that George Apley did not live up en- 
tirely to these ideals as, indeed, who has? but in a measure 
they were before him always. They explain much of his own 
simplicity in life, in which to the last he took a definite, if 
perhaps an over-meticulous, pride. It was always his ideal, for 
example, that anyone less fortunately situated than himself 
should feel at ease in his house and should not feel self- 
conscious because it was encumbered with the externals of 
luxury so prevalent in estates about New York, and so ridicu- 
lously manifested in Chicago and other points in the Middle 
West. It was always his endeavor,, not invariably successful, 
to have matters of the intellect placed before material con- 
sideration. Thus in later years one very often found about the 
Apley table some person of interest to Boston a professor, 
for example, who had distinguished himself by some discovery 


in literature or science, some itinerant writer whose work had 
sufficient merit to deserve intelligent attention, or perhaps some 
visiting Englishman or a Frenchman. 

It is difficult to visualize either the extent or the significance 
of the changes to which George Apley was obliged to adjust 
himself as the resuJt of his father's death. He had been busy 
before in the domestic pursuits resulting from matrimony j 
but now, almost overnight, he found himself the head of the 
Apley family, on whom many members he hardly knew ex- 
isted drew for advice and often for more tangible support. He 
found himself in the position of receiving requests from chari- 
ties and from educational institutions, and also demands of a 
more sinister sort from numerous charlatans and adventurers 
which leads us to the revealing of a very painful situation. 
It may be useful, however, as illustrating the problems which 
beset George Apley and as showing also how unscrupulous and 
mercenary individuals may cast gratuitous and baseless sla'nder 
upon an honest and respected name. A week after his father's 
will was probated, George Apley, still harassed by myriads of 
arrangements, received the following communication from 
New York, written by a lawyer named Presser, of whom no 
one had previously heard. 

My dear sir: 

A client of mine, whose name 1 shall be glad to divulge to 
you in a private conversation, has asked me to do what I can 
for her. Some years ago she met your late father, Thomas 
Apley, on one of the many occasions when he was in New York 
on business. The acquaintance ripened into something more 
than friendship and the result is a son, now a boy of twelve 
years of age. My client states categorically that your late fa- 
ther moved her from a position as a stenographer in a Wall 


Street firm and has furnished her for a number of years with 
support. In addition to this, he had always assured my client 
that he would make an adequate provision for her and her 
child's future at the time of his death. I am communicating 
with you to find what provision has been made, assuring you 
that you may rely on my discretion. It is neither my client's 
desire nor mine that this matter should be made public unless 
absolutely necessary. 1 am placing myself at your disposal and 
suggest that I visit Boston or, better, that you come to New 
York. 1 am sorry that the matter is urgent but my client is in 
immediate need of money. 

The shock which this news caused George Apley is sufficiently 
obvious not to demand specific description. It is the same as 
any dutiful son must feel when, -cognizant of the rectitude of a 
parent, he finds that rectitude left open to slander and himself 
the only one to refute it. George Apley had no precedent or 
experience to guide him and had only to.fely on his own 
sound sense. The present writer has always felt it a great 
honor that George Apley called for him in this great hour of 
need, arranging a meeting in the Apley house on Beacon Street. 
The house was closed during the summer months except for 
the sitting-room arid bedroom of Thomas Apley, which was 
customarily kept open and dusted for the late owner's visits 
to town. Thus, with the exception of the sitting-room, the house 
had an air of mourning. George Apley, pale and nervous, but 
with his lips closed imperturbably, paced the length of the 
room and back. 

"It is a lie!" he said, "a damnable, scurrilous lie 1 " And 
then he added, "1 have been through Father's checkbooks and 
letters, and there is no mention in them whatsoever of any 
uch woman." It was only necessary to point our to him the 


absurdity of such a liaison to relieve him of much of his distress. 
It was not a doubt of his late father's own blamelessness which 
assailed him as much as a fear of the natural cynicism of ir- 
responsible individuals who might hear the news. 

"You know as well as 1 do," he said, u that such things have 
happened. Every now and then one does hear gossip of illegi- 
timacy. I must go down to New York. 1 must go down to New 

As was always the case with Apley, the idea of action pleased 
him. We went down to t New York that night taking, 1 well 
remember, the Fall River boat. Once we were established in 
the comfortable dining saloon, with a very fair bottle of 
claret between us, George Apley partly dismissed the problem 
from his mind. He was once again the companion whom his 
friends had known in college days, thoughtful and almost 

"Will," he said, "this is something of a lark, to be getting 
out of Boston. 1 sometimes feel that all the rest of the world 
is like a foreign country." 

We discussed this remark for a while as we finished the 
bottle of wine. We discussed the affairs of many of our friends, 
but all the while he was preoccupied, and finally he said: 
"Mother must never hear a breath of this. The family must 
never hear." 

This generous feeling was the mainspring of all his actions 
in New York. After a confidential conversation with his fa- 
ther's New York attorneys, who were as deeply shocked at the 
news as the son, the man Presser was called for an interview, 
It soon became plain that neither Presser nor the woman he 
represented could offer more than the flimsiest line of evidence 
that such an alleged liaison had ever existed. It was only 


's dread and intense dislike of the slightest whisper 
against the family name which caused him to be generous 
upon the advice of New York counsel. The matter was finally 
compounded upon the payment of a lump sum, although 
George Apley held out against this until the end, on the 
ground that the payment was an admission of truth. The best 
evidence that the entire charge was absolutely groundless is 
that from that day to this nothing has been heard of the 

No sooner was this situation arranged than another arose of 
a different though of an equally painful nature. It concerned 
his intense love, Hillcrest, where he wished to move with his 
wife and family after his father's death, sharing the house- 
keeping with his mother. His wife and the Bosworths, however, 
were so distressed at the idea of leaving Mulberry Beach that 
this could not be arranged and for many years George and 
Catharine Apley contented themselves with frequent visits to 

It is not that I do not like Mulberry Beach [George Apley 
once wrote by way of explanation]. My one objection to it is 
that it is a long distance from Milton, being on diametrically 
the opposite side of Boston. My children must have their 
roots in the soil of Milton. It seems to me that the time is fast 
arriving when this rushing about, this uncertainty of the life 
which I have led so long must come to an end. My children 
must be brought up in a steady, congenial atmosphere, and 
Milton is the place. 

This desire to establish himself in a firmly entrenched en- 
vironment grew on him as time continued. His numerous ac- 
tintics filled him always with an increasing desire for peace, 


yet this desire seldom took shape in a wish to escape but rather 
in an anxiety for simplification. His life was too full; there 
were loo many things to do. In September the attacks of indi- 
gestion, with which he had become stricken in the months fol- 
lowing his marriage, and which had become chronic, grew 
more acute; and finally, on the .advice of doctors, he took a 
much needed rest in a sense one of his first vacations. Leav- 
ing his wife and family he went with two congenial friends, of 
whom the writer was one, on a camping trip to the woods of 
northern Maine. The success of this experiment caused him to 
repeat it for many years with the same congenial companions, 
going always to the same place, and this leads us to another 
phase of George Apley's life and to the founding of an institu 
tion very dear to many in Boston; the Peqwod Island Camp. 
The story of this camp begins with this pioneering journey. 



The Establishment of a 
Beloved and Challenging Institution 

TT])EQUOD ISLAND CAMP and the life on that remote 
JJL jewel of an island nestled in the clear blue waters of one 
of Maine's wilderness lakes has been described by the present 
writer in his memorial, "Pequod Island Days," which was dis- 
tributed privately a few years back to those fortunate enough 
to know the spot. At the risk of injecting his own personality, 
a few selections from this work by the present writer are 
quoted, as they are so deeply concerned with Apley. 

Well I remember the first day that anyone saw Pequod 
Island and thought of it as something more than a stopping 
place on a wilderness journey. It was in the latter part of a 
September afternoon, in the cool before sunset, that the canoes 
of three tired campers and their guides first broke the stillness 
of the waters of Pequod Lake after Half Mile Carry. In the 
party was our host, George Apley, Winthrop Vassal, and rrw. 
self. Our guide was Norman Rowe, as fine a man as ever 
handled a canoe in white water, and one who, although he did 
not know it then, was for many years to be the guide, philosu 
pher, and friend of every pilgrim to Pequod Island. There is 


tittle need to describe him here, for we all know him, a typical 
Yankee product of the woods, endowed with the quiet patience 
and the tolerance that is born of open spaces. We all know that 
drawling, singsong speech which George Apley was able so 
perfectly to imitate. We all know the dry, tolerant humor with 
which he regarded us "sports," as he called us. We have 
often seen him in later years at storytelling time around the 
campfire, with his perennial quid of tobacco tucked inside his 
cheek, exchanging pleasantries with his employer and dear 
friend; and the rapport between this son of Boston and this 
rough-handed, clear-eyed product of forest and stream was 
in many ways as amazing as it was beautiful but perhaps it 
was not amazing after all. The son of Boston and the son of 
Maine were both sons of New England, who shared a common 
philosophy. It has sometimes amused me to speculate how 
Norman Rowe might have developed had he been brought up 
in Apley's own environment. At any rate, his exterior never 
for a moment concealed the sterling traits of a gentleman, for 
he had many of the same qualities which President Emeritus 
Eliot perceived in his rough fisher friend farther up the Maine 
coast, and of which he wrote so eloquently. 

We were weary indeed as the canoes neared the golden bow 
of beach that fringed the wooded slopes of Pequod Island, but 
it was a carefree, happy weariness. As we went for a dip in the 
lake while the guides busied themselves expertly with putting 
up tents, cutting soft beds of balsam boughs and preparing 
trout, coffee, and flapjacks for supper, we were alone in a 
wilderness of woods and water, alone save for the mournful 
call of the loons and the splash of an occasional fish. Once 
seated about the campfire, according to his invariable habit of 
good fellowship Apley directed' the guides to sit among us 
instead of modestly withdrawing into a corner by themselves. 
He had the faculty, inherited perhaps from his seafaring an 


cestors, of putting this type of person entirely at his ease, so 
much so that one had the illusion that Apley was one of them. 
He drew Norman Rowe into fanciful accounts of the habits 
of moose and beaver; and as Norman Rowe's imagination be- 
came stimulated through his own narration, George Apley's 
eye had that sly twinkle which those who knew him in the 
woods so well remember. When Norman had finished his 
story of a tame beaver at a lumber camp, who rang the dinnei 
bell whenever he was hungry, George Apley said: "I believe 
you, Norman, we all believe you," and Norman shared in the 
hearty laugh at his expense. Then George Apley placed a hand 
in a friendly way on Norman's shoulder. "Norman," he said, 
"you are too good a man to lose; 1 am going to buy this island 
and I am going to put you on it." 

That was the beginning of Pequod Island Camp. 

Starting spontaneously, Pequod Island has never lost its 
spontaneity, and one loves to think that the aura of good fellow- 
ship which enfolded it that evening and the carefree gayety 
of that moment have never left it. Pequod Island has always 
been a place where one may drink deeply and gayly of un- 
spoiled nature, and where one may commune with the forest 
about it. The great central cabin which now overlooks the 
beach, christened facetiously by George Apley the "Forum 
Romanum," with its enormous fieldstone fireplace and rawhide- 
seated chairs, was George Apley's own idea, as indeed was 
the arrangement of the outer cabins, each given the name for 
some building of classical Rome. These even included the 
dormitory of unmarried women, facetiously but racily called 
"The Hall of the Vestal Virgins." Thus, the whole island 
became in time an idealization of its owner's hospitality. It is 
true that each guest paid a nominal fee for his or her board 
and lodging, but this plan was only hit upon to free each visitot 
from a certain sense of obligation to the host. Simple though 


the life was at Pequod Island, the actual running expenses 
were vastly greater than any sums collected, and this difference 
was made up cheerfully by "Romulus" Apley, our host, a name 
which was facetiously given him by the present writer. 

Everyone arriving at Pequod Island dock recalls the sign 
made in letters of rustic cedar twigs which so typifies the wel- 
coming spirit of the place: ALL YE WHO STEP UPON THIS PIER, 
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND. In a sense this admonition has al- 
ways been sedulously followed. The dross of the world we 
have known has always been left in the broad-beamed pas- 
senger launch, and only what is fine in the world, with an oc- 
casional unpleasant exception, has come to Pequod Island. Now 
and then, to be sure, an individual has stepped ashore who did 
not fit in, who could not share that carefree spirit, but he has 
never been asked again. It was George Apley's idea also that 
there should be no drinking and no smoking. As the sign over 
the fireplace in the Forum Romanum gayly said: u Wood 
smoke is enough." Incidentally, it was amazing how quickly 
everyone who arrived there was cured of his craving for to- 

It was first George Apley's idea that Pequod Island should 
be a haven for men, since he was under the illusion that its 
facilities were of too rough and ready a nature to appeal to 
the fairer sex. He was soon cheerfully to admit his error. After 
two years the fame of Pequod Island became so widely known 
in Boston that it could no longer serve exclusively as a retreat 
for the u mere male." On the third summer, perhaps out of 
sheer curiosity, Catharine Apley and Amelia Simmings asked 
to be included in the party 5 and they may have come to scoff, 
but they remained to pray. Much to Apley's surprise Pequod 
Island appealed to them also, and to them we owe much of the 


routine and tradition which still exist there to-day. The ac- 
curate social sense of Amelia and Catharine Apley has been 
largely responsible for the selection of divergent but congenial 
personalities, so that there has always been good talk and stimu- 
lating thought on Pequod Island. It was Catharine Apley 's idea, 
so successfully carried out, that no one of the fair sex should 
give a thought to dress. The rules for costume which she rigidly 
laid down demanded a flannel shirtwaist, a khaki skirt, black 
cotton stockings, and black sneakers. After wading in the brook, 
or climbing to the top of Eagle Mountain across the lake, this 
costume might be changed but it was never varied. Thus it 
has often caused no small amusement among new guests to 
observe in the dining-hall that the village girls from the 
near-by town, employed as waitresses at the camp in summer, 
are universally more expensively dressed than those upon 
whom they wait. It was due to Amelia Simmings that the 
routine schedule of camp activities, which the rising generation 
considers as firm as the laws of the Medes and the Persians, 
was first adopted. Since Amelia Simmings first arrived at Pe- 
quod Island the rising bell has sounded at six-thirty, and it 
was she who thought of a derisive song to greet the tardy ar- 
rivals at table, the first lines of which must ring in the memory 
of every Pequod Islander. 

Late, late, we all have ate, 
And now a cold egg is your fate. 

Amelia Simmings also arranged the institution of the After 
Breakfast Forum, to discuss, after a short prayer, the activities 
of the day. It was first her idea for George Apley to act as chair 
man of Parliamentary Meeting, but later Mrs. Simmings her- 
self took over this office. Each day a variety of morning and 
afternoon projects were laid informally before the assembled 
company, old and young, so that there was something to meet 


each taste. The fishers, for example, might gc to Sturgeon 
Cove, the berrypickers might betake themselves to the top of 
EagJe Mountain, the workers for at Pequod Island there 
was always work to do might be assigned to dam building, 
wood chopping, boat painting, or trail cutting. The "idlers" 
were customarily taken in hand by Professor Speyer, to sit 
quietly on the rustic benches beneath the trees of Indian Point, 
there to read some selections from good books. The youngsters 
for here John and Eleanor Apley and many of their friends 
and contemporaries spent a large portion of their summers 
might join any of these parties if they were not backward in 
their lessons. In the evening by the hospitable lamplight of 
the Forum the secretary of each group rendered its report for 
the day to the tune of friendly and whimsical mirth, and so 
Pequod Island would retire to well earned and dreamless 

To one who reads these pages, but who has never been on 
Pequod Island, this program may seem simple, but in truth 
it was not. The personalities that took part, and who con- 
tributed so much besides to our charades and pageants, were 
what leavened an otherwise dull loaf. It is needless to say that 
many famous figures appeared on Pequod Island and that 
eventually an invitation there was like an accolade. Poetry, 
philosophy, music, art and diplomacy, all have passed beneath 
the giant pines which guard the Forum's door. There has al- 
ways been something provocative in the gay spirit of Pequod 
Island, but the feature one remembers best was the character 
of the host who ruled over it. 

In all those years, particularly after the organization be- 
icath the capable hands of Amelia Simmings and Catharine 
Apley, the spirit of George Apley was felt more than his 
presence a genial, kindly, but retiring spirit. As time went 


on his love for the woods and solitude became morefand more 
pronounced and he organized a group within the group at 
Pequod Island, known as the "camping crowd." The camping 
crowd was always directly under control of Norman Rowe, and 
frequently with its canoes and tents Jeft the island for days, 
and sometimes weeks, for little known parts and for untouched 
beaches and streams. On one matter George Apley was always 
firm. Neither Catharine nor Amelia could interfere with the 
camping crowd. This was made up always of men, generally 
of his cJubmates, and later his son John Apley and his college 
friends were admitted to the group. 

You know [he wrote his friend, Dr. Sewell, by then a famous 
abdominal surgeon J how much I love Pequod Island. I fully 
realize that a part of its charm is that it makes other people 
happy, and 1 leave much of that to Catharine and Amelia. The 
Robin Hood festival which my dear mother arranged herself 
this year was particularly delightful, and so are the talks and 
the singing in the evening, but now and then I have a feeling 
which 1 am brave enough to express only to you and a few 
others. 1 had thought on first coming to Pequod Island that 
we might get away for a while from certain things, that we 
might have a moment's breathing space, a respite from what 
we know so well and love so much. I suppose that this was 
rather too much to hope for. It sometimes seems to me that 
Boston has come to Pequod Island. I suppose we cannot escape 
from it entirely, nor do we really wish to, but I know what you 
and I like: the dripping water from a canoe paddle, the scent 
of balsam, the sweet smell of pond lilies and mud, the weari 
ness of a long carry. These things are still on tap at Pequod 
Island. Norman and I have the canoes ready, and you can 
either go with me or talk with Professor Speyer. Personally, 
my summer is under canvas, with a few days in camp in which 


to recuperate, and then off again. Yet, even in those trips we 
move in circles, we move in circles and come back. I wish to 
goodness my life were not always a circle. I wish I were not 
always resting beneath the umbrella of my own personality. 
You must bear with me when 1 say this, because you know me 
better than most, you know it is a mood and I'll soon get over 
it. The mood is on me to-night only because I have listened to 
several hours of intelligent conversation and I am not a very 
brilliant person. Sometimes here on Pequod Island and back 
again on Beacon Street, 1 have the most curious delusion that 
our world may be a little narrow. 1 cannot avoid the impres- 
sion that something has gone out of it (what, 1 do not know), 
and that our little world moves in an orbit of its own, again 
one of those confounded circles, or possibly an ellipse. Do you 
suppose that it moves without an) relation to anything else? 
That it is broken off from some greater planet like the moon? 
We talk of life, we talk of art, but do we actually know any- 
thing about cither? Have any of us really lived? Sometimes 
I am not entirely sure; sometimes I am afraid that we are all 
amazing people, placed in an ancestral mould. There is no 
spring, there is no force. Of course you know better than this, 
you who plunge every day in the operating room of the Massa- 
chusetts General, into life itself. Come up here and tell me I 
am wrong. 

Mr. Wong writes me from New York that he has a dozen 
new bronzes from the Han Dynasty. He will send them to 
Boston and I must look at them. I wish to heaven I had not 
started collecting them ; it seems as hard to tell what is a real 
bronze as it is to tell who is a real person. Come up soon and 
explain this to me. 

A letter written some years later to his son is in a somewhat 
different vein. 


Dear John: 

I am sorry that you consider it advisable not to be with us 
here at Pequod Island for your usual month this summer, but 
instead to visit your college friends at Bar Harbor. There is an 
atmosphere of money at Bar Harbor which 1, personally, have 
never liked, and I hope that you are not going there solely for 
that reason. It seems to me that you and the other young peo- 
ple whom I know are not as contented as I used to be at your 
age. 1 suppose it is because the world is moving faster. I was 
aware myself of this change when your mother and 1 gave up 
our carriage and began using an automobile. 

What really worries me, however, about your not going to 
Pequod Island is that I am afraid you are neglecting a certain 
duty which you owe to others. Our little community at Pequod 
Island requires the cooperation of everyone to keep it together, 
and this cooperation, as I well know, not infrequently entails 
a certain sacrifice of personal inclination. Nevertheless, it is 
my obligation and yours, as my son, to make our guests here 
happy. You must be lenient with certain eccentricities. Believe 
me, I can understand how you feel about many of the require- 
ments of your Aunt Amelia, because I agree with you that some 
of them are ridiculous. Frankly, I have sometimes wished that 
I were not invariably aroused at half-past six. 1 have often 
wished that I could spend the day doing exactly as 1 pleased; 
but I know now that such a wish is a luxury and a weakness. 
As time goes on it will become more and more evident to you 
that you are a part of a society whose dictates you must obey 
within certain prescribed limits and in every walk of life we 
must give way to the common will. Yes, there are certain things 
one does and others one does not do. One of the things which 
you and I must not do is to neglect our duties at Pequod Island 

1 am afraid you will learn before you are much older that 
this general principle will run through much of vour life. Take 


our downtown lunch club* for instance it comes into my 
mind as just such another group which has its customs and its 
manners. You will find, when you become a member as you 
doubtless will when you take up business in Boston, that you 
will not be cordially received at certain of the tables where the 
same people have customarily eaten for the last thirty years. 
Furthermore, you will discover if you go downstairs to smoke 
in the room reserved for the purpose that you should not linger 
there long over your cigar whether you have anything to do 
for the next hour or not. This, of course, is a trivial example and 
I simply give it as an illustration to show that you and I cannot 
and should not change established customs. 

I want to tell you one thing more, John, and some day you 
will know how right I am. There are certain duties one can- 
not escape. I do not know just why. I consider this quite often 
without arriving at any just rationalization. It is, I think, be- 
cause you and 1 have been born into a certain environment with 
very definite inherited instincts. We cannot escape that environ- 
ment, John, because it is a part of you and me. You can leave 
Pequod Island for Bar Harbor but Pequod Island will never- 
theless remain a part of you. You can go to the uttermost ends 
of the earth but, in a sense, you will still be in Boston ; and this 
is not true alone with you and me; it has been the same with 
others. For many years after the discovery of the Sandwich 
Islands all Americans touching there were known to the natives 
as Bostonians. Believe me, this was not entirely an accident j in 
my opinion these individuals stood out in the childlike minds 
of the Polynesians as more distinct than other American na- 
tionals. They had brought something of Boston with them, just 
as you and I will bring it with us, always. 

This is an inescapable fact but one, I believe, that we should 
be rather proud of than otherwise. It is something to be an 
integrated part of such a distinct group. It is somehow reassur- 


ing 5 at any rate you can go to Bar Harbor, John, but you can- 
not get away from Pequod Island. . . . 

It is interesting to observe that John Apley himself ap 
pended a note to this letter which reads: "By God, you can't/ 



Civic Duties 
And the Rising Tide of Change 

AS ONE looks back upon the first decade of this century 
A\V from the perspective *of the present, one grows increas- 
ingly aware that it was a time of subtle change j subtle, because 
the material aspects of life as we have known it underwent 
no great marked exterior alteration. That change was rather 
a gathering of forces from within, the end of which we know 
not yet. George Apley himself was able to perceive the working 
of these forces during some of the most fruitful and interesting 
years of his life, for this decade wab indeed important to him. 
It was in many ways the crowning decade of his career, since 
it found him in the full force of early manhood and left him 
in the prime of middle life. It was in thib decade, in the year 
1905 to be exact, that our great genius, John Sargent, painted 
George Apley 's portrait, now the property of his son. Sar- 
gent's uncanny ability to evaluate a character through inde- 
finable gradation of feature is very finely manifested in this 
work. It shows George Apley in a simple brown business 
suit, with the high starched collar of the period, standing with 
one hand leaning upon a bare table, the other half-thrust into 


the side pocket of his coat. It is a simple, austere picture of a 
slender man with a somewhat long brown mustache, but in 
some way George Apley has brought his world with him to the 
canvas so that one recalls almost immediately the line written 
to his son : "You cannot get away from it." The sharp nose and 
particularly the set of the mouth and jaw indicate their owner's 
definite reaction to his world. The hands are long and fine. 
In the attenuation of the features one is aware of distinctive 
breeding. It might be termed, as many another canvas by 
older great masters, "The Portrait of a Gentleman." There is a 
marked and gratifying similarity shared by Sargent's "Apley" 
and Titian's "Gentleman with a Glove" and Velasquez's and 
Rembrandt's gentlemen. There is the same leanness, the same 
courteous, reserved assurance but here the resemblance ends. 
George Apley is not an Italian or a Spaniard j he is entirely 
his own type and completely true to type. 

This was the Apley of State Street, of Mulberry Beach and 
Milton, who walked across the Common to his office of a 
winter morning in long, half-careless strides, a true son of 
Boston the present writer likes to think imbued with the 
love of his land and caste. This was the Apley who realized, 
like so many of his contemporaries, that his caste in a sense was 
threatened. The realization came to him when he encountered 
at first hand certain vicious phases in the city government. This 
occurred when he was given the place his name demanded on 
a committee selected by the Mayor of Boston to advise re- 
garding certain plantings and improvements on the Common- 
wealth Avenue Mall. Though this was a matter of no very 
large importance, it was not his way to shirk a civic duty and 
he attended the meetings of this committee assiduously. The 
make-up of this committee, rather than its actions, amazed him 


most; and this example, coming at firsthand, drove him ever 
afterwards to take a more active interest in city affairs and 
threw him eventually with many who were trying to shed some 
light on the shadowy ways of our municipal politics. Thus, as 
early as 1902, we find him writing to Mr. Henry Salter, whose 
letters to the Transcript av the time were already causing no 
little discussion. 

My dear Mr. Salter: 

1 have heard you speak more than once of the incredible 
laxness, to use a mild expression, which has been appearing 
without our fully recognizing it, in our city affairs. 1 am afraid 
I have been guilty of not paying much attention to this, since 
I have been engaged in many other activities, until I found 
myself upon the advisory committee for the planting of the 
Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Then, for the first time I re- 
alized that Boston has indeed become a melting pot. As I 
listened to the discussions of this committee I was amazed to 
find myself in the company of a number of ill-bred men, mostly 
Irish, who seemed to take no real interest in improving the city. 
Such ideas as they had were illiterate and without any merit* 
What seemed to concern them most was that the work should 
go to one of two contractors for whom they appeared to have 
a deep personal friendship, although I could readily see that 
the bids these contractors had made for the proposed work were 
vastly higher than the bids of others. The matter of economy 
did not seem to concern my fellow committee members in the 
least. Their argument ran something like this: "Martin Casey 
will do a good job. He always does the work." What surprised 
me more was that no one paid much attention to anything I 
said. They appeared rather to resent some suggestions which I 
made and one of them actually said to me: "It's your name we 
want, we're used to this sort of business; sure, you wouldn't 


understand it, Mr. Apley." If this is indicative of the way out 
entire city is run, and I begin to be afraid that it is, surely 
something is very wrong. Those of us who should sway the 
taste and perhaps the conscience in municipal affairs have been 
careless of our trust. I, for one, hope that you will call on me 
to aid in any of the good works which you may be doing. 

In all the amusing and erroneous criticisms directed against 
our city no one has been able to say that there has not always 
been a spirit of abnegation and self-sacrifice among our better 
element. The Puritanical idea of uplift ever lingers in the blood 
of the descendants of the first colonists of Massachusetts Bay. 
It may be true that occasionally they are shortsighted and ob- 
livious to certain faults in their surroundings which may be 
obvious to others, but when their attention is directed toward 
these faults, they leave no stone unturned in an effort at recti- 
fication. In a sense the letter of George Apley indicates a 
marked awakening of conscience in the better element of Bos- 
ton or "consciousness" might be a fitter word. 

It is clear to-day that this better element was already be- 
ginning to perceive that it had neglected certain phases of the 
life around it. Preoccupied with their own activities, and pos- 
sibly judging the probity of others by their own, many persons 
did not observe the inevitable results of the rapid growth of 
our city until they became suddenly aware, perhaps more so 
in this decade than at any other time, that much of Boston had 
grown away from them. It was becoming increasingly evident 
that a species of organized corruption which had reared its 
ugly head in other American municipalities was only too ap- 
parent in Boston also. Imperceptibly, but at last surely, it was 
dawning on thoughtful observers of the public trend that the 
esprit and the spiritual pattern which had always distinguished 


the metropolis of New England was no longer sensitive to the 
influence of our better element. 

If it had not been for external urging, it might have beer 
that Apley would have allowed the matter to rest with this 
single unsavory committee experience. As he said in later 
years, he was never greatly interested in politics or sociology, 
nor had he, as he admitted himself, the pliability of mind or 
the tolerance to deal with demogogues; but the pressure of 
public conscience, and also the pressure of individuals includ- 
ing members of his own family, gradually aroused his sense 
of duty. Those who know the indefatigability and fearless- 
ness of Henry Salter in his efforts at various branches of re- 
form can readily appreciate the enthusiasm with which he 
welcomed an offer of assistance given by one of Apley's caliber. 

I have never seen [George Apley wrote some time after- 
wards, in a paper entitled "Adventures in Reform"] a more 
dynamic man than Henry Salter. He had the leanness of face 
and the fixity of purpose which make up the ideal leader of a 
cause. His very eccentricities of dress and manner served only 
to accentuate his earnestness. He is the type of man who has 
made us what we are, and I am proud to have been associated 
in some of his activities. 

Even a casual perusal of Salter's letters to George Apley give 
a definite idea of the effect they must have had on one of Ap- 
ley's disposition, for they are calculated to open up new and 
startling vistas. 

Do you remember Henry Salter? [We find Apley writing 
thus to his classmate, Walker.] I recall how we used to joke 
about him at Harvard, the pale bookworm with glasses. Be- 
lieve me, he is quite a different sort of fellow now 


We are beginning to realize here that the better element has 
let things slide and that now there are incredible social abuses. 
Organized vice is rampant hardly a stone's throw from our very 
doors. I never knew it before, but bribery seems to be a com- 
mon practice and many officials are growing rich on the tax- 
payers' money. More than this, there is an entire letdown in 
the genera] moral tone. The displays at some of the Music 
Halls are really too shocking to be mentioned, although I con- 
sider myself tolerably broad-minded. 

It has always seemed to me until lately that these matters 
were beyond my province. In some way the better element 
must be organized and must make its influence felt. I do not 
know exactly how, because suddenly we seem to be very much 
in the minority. 

More significant, perhaps, in his correspondence at this 
time is a hastily penned note from his sister, Amelia Simmings. 

Dear George: 

Newcomb has just told me the news that you and he have 
been asked to serve on the organizing committee of a new 
organization which is to be called the Save Boston Associa- 
tion. Newcomb has overcome his usual reluctance to put him- 
self forward in anything and, of course, will serve. You must 
do so also. Your name will be of great importance and we must 
be represented since everyone else will be. 1 have just come 
back from the Morning Reading Club where Henry Salter 
gave a talk. We must and we shall clean up Boston. If we do 
not, this will become an Irish city run by the Roman Catholic 
Church. For your own self-respect and for ours I am sure you 
will join Newcomb on this committee. . . . 

If Apley was slow to act it was more because of natural cau- 
tion than through lack of courage. 


It seems to me [he wrote to his sister in an answering note] 
that all this business is rather sudden, that we may all of ui 
be growing a trifle hysterical. I should like to consider more 
carefully what the "Save Boston Association" means and ex- 
actly what it is trying to do. We seem to forget that all these 
abuses have been going on for quite a long while without caus- 
ing any of us any real discomfort. You know how quickly you 
jump at things, Amelia. 

You will be glad to know, however, that Catharine is in 
hearty accord with you. I have never known her so deeply in- 
terested and we have been discussing this during the entire 
evening. I still do not feel that I am the man for the place. 

His realization of the importance of the Save Boston Asso- 
ciation to the ultimate public welfare finally overcame his dis- 
belief in his own fitness and his name appears upon the list of 
early organizers. Once embarked on such a cause, Apley was 
not the sort to turn back. For many years he was indefatigable 
in raising money and in appealing personally to his friends to 
join the growing roster of members. 

The work accomplished by Henry Salter and the Save 
Boston Association is too well known to need mention here, 
except in so far as its activities affected Apley himself. The 
political significance of the Save Boston Association, the ef- 
fect which it had in stimulating the public conscience to many 
abuses, its fearless revelation of mar\y irregularities, resulting 
even in the confusion of many public officials, all form a part 
of Boston history. Better yet, this association furnished the 
impetus for the inception of many other civic group? such as 
the "Teachers' Investigation Association" which has done so 
much to eradicate many deficiencies in our public teaching, and 
the "Guardian Association," and, in later vears, the "Parents 1 


Association," which has brought startlingly to our attention 
many of the moral lapses of our own children. 

It was a source of deep pain to Apley that this new interest 
of his met with doubt and opposition in certain quarters, even 
from members of his own family who saw affairs with a per- 
spective with which George Apley could not agree. A letter 
from his Uncle William distressed him. 

Dear George : 

From what you told me the other night when you came to 
me seeking a contribution for the Save Boston Association 
take an old man's advice. You are biting off a good deal more 
than you can chew. I am pretty familiar with the type of per- 
son you are trying to attack because I have had a good deal to 
do with him. You do not understand him; he is too much for 
you and, mark my words, sooner or later he will get you into 
trouble. He doesn't care a button for anything you think. . . . 

There is also extant a letter from his cousin, John Apley, 
expressing a somewhat different point of view: 

Dear George: 

You won't mind my giving you a piece of advice, will you, 
as we have always been friends? The other afternoon at the 
Club in Cambridge they were talking about you, saying that 
you were getting to be a reformer and that your ideas were al- 
most radical. They tell me that you are in this new organization 
which seems to be designed to mind other people's business 
and that you are joining all the other Catos and censoring a lot 
of things that you really don't know anything about. You're too 
good a fellow, George, to get mixed up in anything like this. 
Besides, you know it's unsound ; it isn't going to help you with 
the people you like and who like you. Make your horse jump 


over the mud, don't try to gallop him through it and don't you 
mind what Catharine says either. . . . 

There is no doubt that Apley was subjected to much similar 
advice. In the light of what we know, it might have been better 
had he followed it, but in many ways it is to his credit that he 
did not. 

"I neither like nor enjoy what I am doing," he wrote to his 
Uncle William. "You may be right in what you say, as you 
nearly always are, but 1 feel this to be my duty. I am sorry I 
must go ahead." 

It is only on looking back over the events of a life which is 
finished that individual episodes take their proper place, and 
so it is with George Apley's emergence into public affairs. Only 
when his entire life was completed could one fully understand 
the difficulties which he was storing up for himself when he 
took the position that he did, because he considered it his duty. 

At this period in his life, however, his interest in these affairs 
was more passive than it was later. His life at the time was vivid 
with other concerns, several of which one may mention. The 
most important is made self-explanatory by a copy of a letter 
which he sent to the Committee on Admissions of the Province 
Club, and marks the beginning of a collision which the present 
writer knows that Apley would gladly have avoided. 

My dear Sirs: 

I noticed to-day on the bulletin board that the name of 
Marcus Ransome has been proposed by Mr. Storrel Moore and 
Mr. Franklin Fields for resident membership in the Province 
Club. I wish to express myself as unalterably opposed to his 

I do not object to Ransome personally and I have sat with 


him about the directors' tables of several small companies in 
which we are both associated. Although he has only been in 
Boston for ten years, he has good manners and is superficially 
a gentleman. He may not possess the same background and 
antecedents which characterize most members of the Province 
Club but I do not believe that his appearance here would be 
objectionable. 1 wish to make it clear that it is not because of 
Ransome personally that I move to oppose him. 

Rather, I move to oppose the motive which actuates Messrs. 
Moore and Fields in putting this man up for membership. 
They are not doing so because of family connections, nor be- 
cause of disinterested friendship, but rather because of busi- 
ness reasons. It is, perhaps, too well known for me to mention 
it that Mr. Ransome has been instrumental in bringing a very 
large amount of New York business to the banking house of 
Moore and Fields. This I do not think is reason enough to 
admit Mr. Ransome to the Province Club, a club which exists 
for social and not for business purposes. I, for one, shall feel 
that the Club has lost much of what is good in it if the Com- 
mittee acts favorably on Mr. Ransome. I am sending a copy 
of this letter to Mr. Moore and another to Mr. Fields. . . . 

It may readily be understood that the importance of the two 
above-mentioned gentlemen in Boston business was so great 
that this act of Apley's assumes the proportions of one of con- 
siderable moral courage. He was standing against his own kind 
for what he felt was a principle, and in the end he may be 
largely thanked that the Province Club to-day maintains its 
old standards and still remains known as the best club in 
Boston, broad-minded, yet conservative. This letter, however, 
aroused a species of dissension which has not been forgotten, 
for it struck a spark from the well-known high temper of Mr. 
Moore, which divided Boston into factions. Many persons who 


had never heard of Ransome before, including friends of 
George Apley, eagerly espoused his cause. The answering let- 
ter from Mr. Moore is still among the late George Apley's 

My dear Apley: 

If you interested yourself in business more than in a variety 
of social pursuits you would know enough to mind your own 
business. What is the matter with Ransome that you should 
write this ridiculous and puerile letter to the Province Club? 
I ask you to reconsider it at once. . . . 

The copy of Apley's letter which he preserved is equally 

My letter to the admission committee explains itself. I do 
not care to reconsider it. 

When one recalls the ensuing excitement it is not surprising 
to find floods of protest still extant. There were letters of ex- 
postulation and letters of pleading from many who realized the 
embarrassments which Apley's stand would cause. There is 
even a letter from Hugh Tilton, Secretary of the Province 
Club. "I appreciate your objection/' he writes, "but I wonder 
*f you consider its implications." It is clear enough that Apley 
considered them. 

If Mr. Ransome is elected, [he wrote in a second letter to the 
Committee] I myself shall be obliged to resign from the 
Province Club. You may consider this letter as my resignation, 
taking effect immediately upon Mr. Ransome's admission. 

This statement of George Apley's, which was couched rather 
more in the form of a suggestion than an actual threat, reduced 


the situation ad absurdum, since Ransome could no longer be 
considered as a serious possibility. It is safe to believe that this 
stand of Apley's had repercussions which lasted until the day 
of his death and that he underwent much pain in doing what he 
always considered a disinterested service. What grieved him 
most was the impression gained by many that he was a "snob," 
for he had always prided himself upon maintaining democratic 
tolerance and anyone who has seen Apley at a single reunion 
of his college class can be quite sure that this is true. 

On George Apley's fifteenth reunion and outing which was 
held at about this time at the Breaker House, near Pachogue 
Neck, Apley made an especial point of addressing every one of 
his classmates present, some of them less than mere acquaint- 
ances. More than this, he was careful to ask considerately and 
with real interest, how each was faring in the world 5 and he 
went so far as to call several by their first names for the first 
time in their acquaintanceship. This scrupulousness of Apley 
)vas commented upon freely by many of his intimates who had 
expected him to join the small group of Club members. There 
is no doubt that Apley would have preferred to do so, but he 
persisted strictly in this other course. Instead of being a snob, 
it would be more just to say that throughout his life George 
Apley was persistently democratic. 

Greatly to his astonishment he was also taxed in many 
quarters with being personally hostile to Mr. Ransome him- 
self who, it appears, held a certain position in the downtown 
district and in West Newton, where he resided. This was the 
accusation which Apley denied most heatedly. Instead of dis- 
liking Ransome, he always asserted with perfect truth that he 
had a warm personal liking for the man and a general admira- 
tion for his business acumen. There are not many who know 


that George Apley had recourse to definite action to confirm 
these words. In the very heat of this dispute he went to con- 
siderable troubJe to give Ransome some buying orders for 
securities that would ordinarily have fallen to another firm, 
and he could onJy express astonishment and bewilderment 
when Ransome refused to execute these orders. Nevertheless, 
his quiet interest in Ransome did not cease, and the present 
writer is one of the few who know that when Ransome was 
seriously embarrassed in the autumn of 1929 George Apley, 
though the two had not seen each other for many years, im- 
mediately came to his aid. 

Enough has already been said of this episode to illustrate 
George Apley's point of view. It made him many friends, but 
also many enemies who to the end refused to understand his 
attitude. Many of these individuals also used the Province 
Club dispute as an actual precedent for doubting George Ap- 
ley's integrity when he found himself faced with the final un- 
merited debacle that did so much to shorten the latter end of 
his life and to sadden his latter days. 



Paternal and Other Responsibilities in the 
Vicinity oj Boston and Milton 

IN THE midst of these 'cares and demands which beset 
any active life George Apley also found himself making 
the welcome adjustments to the pressure of a growing family 
for which the modest house in Gloucester Street, where he 
and Catharine Apley still resided during the winter months, 
vas growing somewhat small. His children were now in 
middle childhood j John Apley a thin, pale, and interesting 
boy approaching twelve, and Eleanor Apley a golden-headed 
girl of ten who had inherited much of the Apley looks and 
charm. At this age, as George Apley once said himself, f|ce- 
tiously, he became obliged to regard these two as individual^ 
and not as playthings in the nursery. It had been Catharine 
Apley's belief, inherited from her mother, that early child- 
hood care and discipline were best administered by the woman 
of the family; but now the younger Apleys had developed 
sufficiently to break thc^e ties and gave evidence of a deep 
interest in their father's company which was returned with af- 
fection and solicitude. Thus, one finds the father considering 
each year more deeply the problems of education ; so, like other 


parents, he found himself confronted by the many implications 
of this absorbing topic, which he faced with the earnestness 
characteristic of the best tradition. 

His letters to his friend Walker at this period gave a very 
real insight into the life of the comfortable and well-regulated 

I wish you might see Johnny [he writes]. I think he might 
amuse you because he seems in many ways like a reflection of 
me, when you and I attended Hobson's School, Micky, so 
many centuries ago. I have the curious sensation, common per- 
haps to all parents, of living over again a half -forgotten phase 
of my life in Johnny. I try to grope back into the past to make 
myself better understand his ideas and aspirations. Not very 
successfully, I am afraid. Catharine says I do not understand 
him at all, and possibly she is right. At her own request I have 
left the management of the children with Catharine until now, 
and I suppose they have been brought up much as Catharine 
and 1 were in our childhood. But now, quite suddenly, Johnny 
has become a person and so has Eleanor. I do not understand 
girls but I love her and 1 think she knows I do at least I 
hope so. 

Johnny is another matter. We have long talks together and 
Inflow make it a point each afternoon to return early from the 
office. I want very much for him to be happier than I have been, 
though heaven knows I have every reason to be happy enough. 
It is quite uncanny how much he understands of the characters 
in the household, particularly of his mother and me. Sometimes 
of an evening I read to him from the Waverley novels, of 
which my father was so fond. His great interest is football, 
which, of course, makes me very pleased, and 1 have told him 
about you and the football team at Harvard. We have also 


been out to Cambridge to see some games, but here I come to 
another point. 

Something seems to be very wrong with Harvard athletics. 
For some reason the teams do not seem to have the fighting 
spirit which they had when we were young. The players seem 
soft, and I am sorry to say almost effeminate. I wish that you 
could come back before the Yale game and give them a talk. 
It seems utterly impossible any longer to beat Yale, and there 
is not much pleasure in attending a spectacle which is an in- 
evitable defeat. I am glad to say that some of us at the Club 
are very much concerned about this and an informal graduates* 
committee is being formed, of which I am a member, to in- 
vestigate the defects in our coaching system. I was told only 
last Tuesday at the Club lunch that one of our troubles is that 
certain players are not encouraged for reasons of social dis- 
tinctions, that many fellows from South Boston and the suburbs 
who might make very good material indeed are frowned on 
by their teammates, who do not care to play with the type which 
we used to know as "mucker." This is all very well, if their 
team can beat Yale, but if it cannot I, for one, think these 
"muckers" should be encouraged, as long as they are Harvard 
men. The more of them the better, I say, if they can hold the 
Yale rush line. 

I believe the time is coming when Johnny should go to one 
of these boarding schools. Of course they were not popular 
nor very well known in our day but now the consensus of 
opinion seems to be that they fit a boy for life better than the 
home. This may be right. At any rate, it gets them away from 
women into a healthy atmosphere of men where they can de- 
velop their minds and harden their bodies. This is why, if I 
can induce Catharine to part with him, I want to send Johnny 
to Groton. Even though I am a Unitarian and a pewholder 


at King's Chapel, my greatest wish is that he should be hard 
and strong. Eleanor is already entering Miss Rose's School. It 
is sensible and turns out a very good type of girl and the more 
I see of life the more sure I am that every individual should 
learn to conform to type. 

This letter may be enough to indicate the trend of George 
Apley's thoughts along the line of education. It is evident that 
his ideas were eminently conservative but in the main thor- 
oughly wholesome. He was quick to see the advantages of the 
Arnold and Rugby idea which has since chimed in so perfectly 
with Boston life. The product of this method, while the English 
importation was fresh and new and not softened by many of the 
radical and puerile innovations of the present, has, on the 
whole, been excellent. John Apley's contemporaries have been 
proof enough of this. They have nearly all upheld the best 
traditions of their class, having faced courageously the prob- 
lems of a World War and the many social difficulties which 
have followed it. If the same cannot be said in as great a meas- 
ure of still'younger men, whose attitude toward sport and sex is 
sometimes shoddy, the present writer believes that this result 
is due to defections from the old system. It is true that some 
did not conform to the rigidity of that mould, including in a 
measure John Apley himself, but this was the fault of the in- 
dividual, rather than of the system. George Apley's letters to 
his son during his years at school indicate his concern with this 

Dear Johnny: 

Of course Groton is not as comfortable as home but I did 
not send you there to be comfortable. 1 sent you there to grow 
used to a hard, clean life. A great many of us cannot do every- 


thing we want. I want, for instance, to go abroad with your 
mother, you, and Eleanor, next summer j but I cannot because 
of business reasons and because of your grandmother's weak 
heart. I should like to go down to Carolina now with your 
great-uncle Horatio for the quail shooting, but 1 cannot be- 
cause 1 am needed here. The thing that you must learn to do as 
quickly as possible is to learn how to get on with the other boys 
and to play football. . . . 

Dear Johnny: 

I am very sorry you are unhappy and sometime soon I am 
coming up to see you, but you must remember that no one can 
be happy all the time. I believe that a large part of life con- 
sists of learning how to be unhappy without worrying too much 
about it. ... 

Dear Johnny: 

1 cannot understand why your marks are so low. Both your 
mother and I are worried about this. We both know that you 
are not stupid and surely you are not lazy. Much of your life 
is going to be spent with very intelligent people and you also 
must learn to be intelligent. . . . 

All of this is a parent's state of mind ^rather than George 
Apley's actual feelings toward his son. Beyond a concern for 
his son's success there was a deep affection and sometimes a 
genuine sympathy. As Eleanor Apley once said, a few years 
later, in the author's hearing: "Dad doesn't mean half what he 
says j half the time he's trying to be somebody else." 

During the compilation of this volume John Apley himself 
has given his own impressions of this time, which may be ex- 
tracted from his correspondence with the author: 


I don't blame Father very much for being disgusted with 
my record at school, for I can realize now that I was quite in- 
tolerable to most of my schoolmates and my masters. I should 
never have gone there because I did not fit in. Sometimes even 
then I think Father understood this in our talks at home or 
when we went walking in the country or sailing at Mulberry 
Beach or fishing at Pequod Island. At these times I think he 
understood me, particularly because I have a shrewd suspicion 
now that Father, much as he tried, had a good deal of diffi- 
culty himself in adjusting to his environment. He was always 
trying and making a pretty good job of it, but even then I 
could see that he was worried by a great many things. I don't 
believe he ever liked half of what he did, but simply ever- 
lastingly carried on, like the British Army. Of course, it doesn't 
alter the fact that I went through a good deal of hell at school. 
It helped me to see for one thing that Boston is a sort of Groton. 
Lord knows there are peculiar enough eccentric types but even 
these conform to a definite pattern of eccentricity. 

It is amazing how much more a boy realizes than anyone 
thinks he does. I could understand, even when he was sharp 
with me, that Father had a great many worries, not the sort 
that would worry most people but genuine, none the less. In 
the first place, Mother didn't make things any too easy for 
him. She never really understood him, any more than he under- 
stood her. Then there were the details in his life, which he was 
working at conscientiously. He was getting himself involved 
in an infernal round of detail. Grandmother's health was fail- 
ing and this worried him a great deal. There were all sorts of 
administrative affairs that had to do with dozens of small busi- 
nesses at the office. Then there ,was his Club life, and his in- 
terest in undergraduate activities. 

All these matters were assuming for him a peculiar and com- 


pletely overestimated importance, so characteristically Bos- 
tonian. He was always doing a hundred things, not one of 
them amounting to much, and it was like him never to let any- 
thing go when he might have dropped the whole lot of them 
without any trouble. I never blamed him when he was hard 
on me because he was hard on himself too hard. 

This passage is only quoted to illustrate a point of view from 
one who was never wholly appreciative of George Apley's very 
genuine contribution to society and to his time. Yet, it is in- 
teresting that the son's letter, by some quirk of inheritance, 
is a repetition of the father's occasional doubts. 1 still can hear 
Apley saying, as he sometimes did, though he always smiled 
when he said it, "I seem to be getting nowhere." He said it, 
even when he knew very well that he was doing quite the 

Thus, this picture which John Apley paints is, in many 
respects, overcolored and overexaggerated. There were many 
lighter moments in his life, nor was it without friendship and 
sympathy. A natural craving for exercise, which never entirely 
left him, set him to adopt the bicycle as a means of locomotion. 
In the early nineteen-hundreds it became his habit to arise each 
Saturday morning at four o'clock in the spring and autumn and 
to bicycle to the Caleb Goodrich's woods in Milton, where he 
gratified his love of nature and solitude by taking a bird walk 
and by jotting down in a notebook the number and species ha 
encountered. These books have been subsequently left by be- 
quest to the State ornithologist and their accuracy has awakened 
no little interest. It is to Catharine Apley's credit that she al- 
ways understood completely his purpose in taking these weekly 
journeys, as he did not take them alone. For many years^ ift 


deed up to the last year of his life, he shared this interest in 
bird lore with his old playmate and lifetime friend, Mrs. Clara 

It is truly astonishing fwe find him writing] how much 
Clara knows about birds and how little Caleb Goodrich knows. 
In this respect Caleb and Catharine are very much the same. 
Clara's feeling for nature is almost the same as mine. Caleb, 
*fho occasionally accompanied us on these walks, has now given 
it up and Clara and I wander farther afield with our spy glasses 
And notebooks, particularly around the pools and marshes. 

There can be no doubt that these walks were a great fulfill- 
ment to Apley, for we find him writing again: 

I always feel better after searching for birds with Clara. 
f he world seems to revolve more easily. I return home in a 
better mood and all the cares of the office are no longer cares. 

Again we find him writing: 

This morning, since we were spending the night at Hillcrest, 
( took John and Eleanor on a bird walk with Clara Goodrich. 
I was disappointed that they did not enjoy it as much as I did, 
and Clara and I have both decided that they are too noisy to 
come again. 

At the author's suggestion Mrs. Goodrich herself has con- 
tributed to this reminiscence. 

1 like to think [she writes] that some of my dear lifelong 
friend's happiest hours were spent in our forest and swamp- 
land of a sunny early morning. If it is so, this alone is sufficient 
reason for my husband's having maintained untouched this bit 
of wilderness. Even to-day, as I walk alone, the kindly, quiet 


spirit of George Apley seems to walk beside me. I can hear him 
saying in his quiet, gentle way, "I spied him first, Clara, the 
Carolina wren." 1 can see him still walking with the loose- 
limbed stride of a woodsman, his eyes alert, his notebook in 
his hands. The lines of perplexity were gone from his fore- 
head then. 

Following these Saturday walks, it was their invariable cus- 
tom to join Mr. Caleb Goodrich at a hearty breakfast of baked 
beans, brown bread, and fishballs, a type of menu which was 
never altered from one year's end to the other. 

Nothing could better refute the criticism of narrow- 
mindedness sometimes leveled against our society than the 
almost universal recognition of the platonic qualities of this 
relationship by all who knew George Apley and Mrs. Good- 
rich. This may be because they had the benefit of precedent of 
many other friendships between members of the opposite sex, 
and such freedom of social intercourse has fortunately been 
allowed to flourish here almost free from the blight of gossip 
or of suspicion. Caleb Goodrich and Catharine Apley were 
quick to recognize that this was simply one of the many in- 
stances of friendly devotion which they observed around them. 
Instead of trying to hinder this congeniality, they both ac- 
cepted and tacitly encouraged it. 

Curiously enough, the only protest which was ever heard 
came from a somewhat peculiar source, namely from the now 
ageing Nathaniel Pettingill who still made his daily call upon 
Elizabeth Apley each afternoon at a quarter after four. 

Your dear mother [he wrote] , who depends so on your devo- 
tion and whose every thought is an idealization of you, is 
naturally far too loyal to express any doubt as to your be- 


haviour, nor, indeed do I, dear George, who have often felt 
myself in my poor way a second father to you. But I have 
known your mother so well and for so long that I sometimes 
feel 1 can read her thoughts, as.we sit before the table in Beacon 
Street before turning to our Emerson. I believe she is worried, 
not because she has not the most absolute trust in her son, as 
I have also in you, but because she understands that appearances 
are important. It may be that I shall offend you but I do so 
in a good cause and as one who has been a devoted adherent 
to your family. Could you not arrange to see a little less of 
Clara Goodrich, or at any rate to visit her in the company of 
others? There is a connotation to these long bicycle rides and 
to these ramblings in the woods which may be misunderstood. 
Please consider this for your dear mother's sake, as she is far 
from well. 

George Apley's reply is not extant, but at the time he was 
honestly indignant to the point of agitation. This indignation 
was shared by his own mother. 

I have just heard that Nathaniel has sent you a very ill- 
considered letter [she writes]. I cannot understand why he is 
ao peculiar, Georgie dear. He should know as well as I that 
there is nothing more beautiful than a pure friendship between 
a good man and a good woman. I have grown to love dear 
Clara, who has spoken of you so often, and 1 must say she gives 
you much that dear Catharine does not, and that is why Catha- 
rine is generous enough to love her too. I have spoken quite 
sharply to Nathaniel about this. You must give his letter no 
thought. No one will, no one can, share in his opinion. 

There is something sadly pathetic in these lines of a loving 
mother to her son, nearly the last she ever wrote him. Eliza- 


beth Apley must have seen, with that prescience of one who 
nears the end of a long journey, that George Apley would 
need the support and encouragement of another when she her- 
self was taken from him, and much of that support in later yeara 
did come from Clara Goodrich. 



The Severing of a 
Last Tie and a Father's Growing Cares 

[T^LIZABETH APLEY had persisted for many years in 
li 4 the custom of the HilJcrest Thanksgiving dinners. In 
November of the year 1908, ignoring protests of her physician, 
of her son, and of her daughter Amelia, the family festival was 
held as usual, correct in every detail. It was marked by the 
appearance of Jane Apley with an attendant, the first time in 
many years that George Apley's sister had attended such a 
large and public occasion. The pleasure of Elizabeth Apley 
may be readily realized. Indeed it was, in many ways, as she 
said herself, one of her happiest days. She is quoted as saying: 
"My fledgelings are with me again." Yet she may have had 
the premonition that it was the last time that they would be. 

After the dinner the large front parlor was cleared, and 
Elizabeth Apley sat with her grandson John and her grand- 
daughter Eleanor, watching a series of charades which had been 
arranged at her request by her son. With his customary ability 
to throw aside all appearance of care on such occasions, George 
Apley had given himself to the spirit of play. When the cha- 
rades were over, his mother called to him, saying that she was 


tired and would lie down, asking at the same time that Mr. 
Pettingill come up to read to her. She was explicit that no one 
must be disturbed, that the gayety must go on. 

u Thus," George Apley wrote, "her thought of others per- 
sisted to the end." 

An hour later, after most of the guests had gone, Mr. Pet- 
tingill descended the broad staircase into the front hall. There 
was no need for him to speak. The strain of Thanksgiving had 
been too much for Elizabeth Apley's heart. She had died as 
her old friend read to her that afternoon, but the news was not 
communicated to those outside the immediate family until 
that evening. 

Although George Apley had long realized the inevitability 
of this blow, its suddenness took him unaware. Beneath the 
calmness which he maintained was a shock of bereavement be- 
yond his calculation. During all the adjustment in the weeks 
that followed his reactions were slow. 

I cannot express myself [he wrote in a letter to his aunt], 
I still cannot believe that this support has been removed from 
me forever. I cannot believe that there will never again be 
someone who is convinced that everything 1 do is right. 1 can- 
not believe that the parlour in Beacon Street will be dark at 
five o'clock and that her Sewing Circle will no longer meet 
there on the first Tuesday of the month. I have never felt so 
horribly, so completely alone. It is a very frightening feeling. 
I can compare it only to my sensations when, as a little boy, 
Mother would blow out the light and close the door and leave 
me in the dark. 

Under the circumstances it was not strange that he should 
depend for a long time upon the consolation of memory. He 


gave ten acres of woodland to the town of Milton, to be known 
as the "Elizabeth Apley Park." Her room in Beacon Street 
and her room in Milton he ordered locked, and he held the 
keys himself. He was assiduous in keeping every piece of furni- 
ture in the parlor at Hillcrest exactly as she had arranged it. 
He might have proceeded further along this line of action if 
he had not been prevented by the kindly good sense of Cath- 
arine Apley. When George Apley and his family moved to 
Hillcrest the next spring, Catharine Apley took complete 
charge, not only of the household indoors but of much of the 
grounds and gardens. 

The unostentatious perfection of her arrangements must be 
recognized by everyone who has ever visited Hillcrest. The 
atmosphere of cheerful reality which her presence imparted 
to the whole estate could not but in the end be contagious and 
could not but serve finally to dispel much of George Apley's 
sadness. Indeed, those who knew him began to notice that he 
deferred increasingly to the executive ability of his wife. It was 
Catharine Apley who directed his mind to a subject which did 
much to interest him in the months following his mother's 

In dusting and rearranging books on the high shelves of the 
long dark oak library at Hill crest Catharine Apley came upon 
a volume which had been purchased from the George Wash- 
ington library, probably by Moses Apley himself. George Ap- 
ley, although he had prided himself on being familiar with the 
contents of the library, had somehow neglected this important 
item, which bore the indubitable signature of Washington upon 
the title page. His interest in it served to hold his attention even 
in this hour of his bereavement, and we find him writing to the 
librarian of Congress: 


On turning over the pages of an important volume which 
formerly beJonged to George Washington and which is now 
in my possession, I have discovered a single human hair in 
the center of the book and my wife has encouraged me to write 
you about it. It is not the hair of either my grandfather or 
father, and no one else, as far as I know, has ever opened 
these pages. 1 wonder if it could be Washington's and I send 
it to you in the envelope enclosed herewith, in the hope that 
you may solve this mystery. 

Many persons outside the Aplev family must still remem- 
ber the interest caused by this episode, which the Congres- 
sional Library also shared, although it was proved later that 
the hair came from another and unknown head. 

"I feel as though everything for me had stopped," he wrote 
at about this time. But this was far from being the case. His 
conscientiousness for details was attracting a wider and more 
merited attention. Now that he was a partner in the law firm., 
whose name had been changed to Reid and Apley, his services 
were in growing demand as a trustee for estates, particularlj 
of small properties held by charity. His services were also 
sought on various directors' boards. To list only a few of these 
latter gives some insight into the scope of his activity. Exclusive 
of a directorship in the Apley Mills which was his by right of 
birth, he was a director in the North End Cold Storage Ware- 
house Company, founded and controlled by his father, a direc- 
tor of the Water Carriers' Savings Bank when his uncle 
William Apley was president, a director of the North End, the 
South End, the Fenway, and the Basin Real Estate Trusts, a 
director in the Apley Heirs' Trust, of which his cousin John 
Apley was president, a director of the Apley Falls Gas Com- 
pany, a director of the Apley Falls Water Works, a director 


of the Maine Pulp Land Trust, containing properties acquired 
by Thomas Apley, a director in the firm of Apley Brothers, and 
a director of the Apley Safe Deposit Vaults. Although it may 
be true that Apley had never assumed a leading position in any 
of these companies, his presence on the directorates was of 
considerable importance, as it did much to encourage others. 
It was his invariable habit to save the ten-dollar gold piece, 
customarily presented to the directors at these meetings, for 
distribution to the servants at Christmastime, for it pleased him 
to serve these various companies without actual pay. 

If Apley had said that everything had stopped, it was only 
because he was being carried evenly on the stream of life, ex- 
periencing that same motionless sensation which a canoeist feels 
upon a quiet stream, although the landscape is gliding by on 
either side. Now and then some feature of this landscape would 
surprise him. 

To-day John beat me a set of tennis [we find him writing to 
Catharine Apley from the Brent estate on Pachogue Neck]: 
John, who only yesterday was mewling and puking in his 
nurse's arms. It still only seems yesterday, Catharine. I de- 
clare I have no sense of the passing of the time. You and I are 
getting to be middle-aged people, although you do not look it 
and I do not think I do, either. Yet only to-day, at one of those 
clambakes on the rocks, Hugh Brent told me that I was get- 
ting set in my ways. 1 rather resented this. It seems to me that 
I have been broad-minded about a great many things always, 
too broad-minded. It seems to me that 1 have always been 
hospitable to new ideas, and that you and I have led a very 
free life. I told John as much, after we had finished that set 
of tennis, but he is still fresh from his visit to the Birchards on 
Long Island. He is still talking of dances and chauffeurs j he 


says the New York girls are prettier than the Boston girls and 
he wishes that we could be more like the Birchards. I toJd 
him that a fifth-former in Groton realJy did not know much 
about points of view, and I tried to explain to him that our 
relations of Pachogue Neck were some of the most liberal peo- 
ple in the world, that they are the products of the most liberal 
cultivation. Youth seems to be revolting these days but I am 
sure that this is not our fault. John is probably only feeling his 
oats. He says he has not got enough clothes, so I am sending 
him to McCulloch Barker's to buy two new suits. 1 am letting 
him select them himself and hope you do not mind. 

Again a short time afterwards we find him writing to his 
friend, Walker: 

Can you believe it, my little girl is going to the Friday eve- 
nings? I saw her leave for the first time to-night with Hannah, 
Mother's old maid. What struck me most was her amazing 
beauty, inherited entirely from the Apleys. That beauty of 
hers distressed me a little. She was in a blue dress of a light, 
robinVegg blue which Catharine had designed for her herself 
from one of her own old party dresses. She wore long gloves 
and patent leather slippers. As she stood in front of the fire- 
place for me to look at her, 1 had the impression of girls I used 
to know at dancing school at about the time when we used to 
hide downstairs in the cloakroom. Her hair added to this il- 
lusion. Catharine is not going to allow her to put it up until 
she comes out. Yet, as she stood there, I could see that she was 
more than a little girl; I could see that my little Eleanor is 
growing up. She is growing up and in some way I have never 
really known her. When she asked me whether I thought any- 
one would dance with her I could feel a lump rise in my throat 
She wab setting off with Hannah to face the world and she was 
afraid of it. I do not blame her much. Sometimes the world w 


a strange and brutal place. Life, they say, is what you put into 
it. For myself, I have tried to put in a great deal, and yet what 
is the result? I do not know my own daughter and 1 am afraid 
even that I shall never know her. 

I should like to be friends with my children. It has always 
been my ideal to be a good companion to them and to have 
them treat me as one of themselves. But I wonder if this is 
ever possible. Enmeshed in the duties and perplexities of my 
own life, I cannot seem to adjust this life to theirs. They do 
not seem to be much interested in what I am doing. I had 
hoped that we might all take up gardening together at Hill- 
crest as my mother had taught Amelia and poor Jane and me, 
but somehow these children of mine do not seem interested in 
the flowers. I had hoped that we might play the same games 
together that we had played when we were children, that 
Catharine and John and Eleanor and I might be our own 
community, reading together and talking together in front of 
the fire of an evening. I can now understand the futility of 
this readily enough. The world seems constantly to be stepping 
in, or if it does not, neither Eleanor nor John seem to appreciate 
the value of these moments of relaxation. The great thing that 
John and I seem to have in common is a love of dogs, but as 
Catharine will allow no dog in the house, this does not take me 
very far. As for Eleanor, she has never been alone with me very 
much and now the world is stepping in to take her from me. 

There is no doubt that this letter was penned in one of 
George Apley's more melancholy moods. Fortunately, these 
moods were not with him for long, as an early letter from 
Eleanor Apley herself attests. 

Dear Father: 
1 wish you were down here at Pachogue Neck. You always 


have such a good time down here. You are different from the 
way you are at home because I don't suppose it is your house 
and you are different from the way you are at Pequod Island, 
too. Do you remember when we went out digging clams and 
how you slipped in the mud? I wonder if you could give me 
some money to get a new dress, just because I ask you. 1 should 
like to buy it myself, without Mother seeing me buy it. It 
would be a sort of a secret, wouldn't it? 

Toward the end of this decade we find George Apley again 
in New York City. And again through no choice of his own, but 
because of the vicissitudes of his friend, Walker. These were 
caused by Walker's having contracted an alliance with r young 
woman named Mapes, who had appeared some years before 
in the extravaganza, "The Wizard of Oz." Although many of 
Walker's friends considered that this action of Walker no 
longer made them responsible, Apley remained loyal. We may 
add here, parenthetically, that this was only one example of a 
hundred individual kindnesses. 

My father once gave me a very good piece of advice [he 
says in one of his letters to his son] and that is never to lend 
money to a friend. Friendship cannot be gauged in terms of 
money arid should not be, yet you will probably find yourself, 
as I have, often beset by requests for loans from people who 
are hard pressed. You will sometimes be surprised from what 
quarters these appeals will come and most of them are the re- 
sult of improvidence, gambling, and bad management. I have 
never been very successful, however, in reading these people 
a moral lecture. It has been my custom always to give the 
money outright and then as quickly as possible to forget about 
the whole transaction. I believe it is the kindest thing to do 
and I believe it is a duty. 


It is quite probable that his visit to Walker included some 
such errand, but his reactions to the great metropolis, aside 
from Walker, have an individual interest. They concern the 
reactions of a denizen of another world, viewing what we must 
now consider as the beginning of a change for the worse in 
America. Thus the unconscious criticisms which he makes are 
peculiarly trenchant. 

Apley stayed at that convenient hotel, the Belmont, now 59 
unfortunately demolished for no good reason, a hotel which 
has extended its hospitality to so many from Boston. To many 
a man obliged to come to New York on business the facilities of 
this hostelry and the company he has met there have been so 
congenial that he has never left it except for reasons of absolute 
necessity. This was particularly true later in the post-war dec- 
ade when the nervous excitement of New York City, the roar of 
its traffic, and the casualness of its manners assumed a rising cre- 
scendo. Nevertheless, it was necessary for many in these later 
years to visit New York in order to attend the theater, since 
producers who had once eagerly sought the commendation of 
a Boston public had turned a cold shoulder, due to the influx of 
an uneducated element in the audiences. When confronted with 
the problem of seeing a play and nothing else, the Belmont of- 
fered a happy solution. Close to the teeming Broadway district 
and closer still by good fortune to the Boston train, it was only 
necessary to take a few minutes' ride in a taxicab to reach the 
playhouse and, upon returning, there was always an acquaint- 
ance with whom to exchange ideas regarding the frequently 
unpleasant and oftentimes shocking dramatic spectacle. 

I have never been as astonished at anything [George Apley 
writes to his wife] as I have been at New York. The Billy 


Bradshaws and the Jack Jessups and I were speaking of it at 
breakfast this morning. They are taking the noon train back, 
but I cannot. Although we are Americans, we all seem like 
strangers in a foreign city. I do not like to think that it is setting 
the style for the future. If it is, I believe that the world is 
going mad, that we are reaching the end of an era. I can under- 
stand perfectly why you do not ever want to see it, for it is 
quite beyond our own philosophy. There are very few horses 
left on the streets j their place is taken by taxicabs and private 
automobiles with shining brasswork that pant beside the curbs. 
There is a pandemonium of motor horns and policemen. Broad- 
way is full of strange electric signs that move in nervous pat 
terns. My senses are stunned by gilded ostentation and shallow- 
ness. 1 wonder if the time will ever come when we shall heai 
only motor horns instead of the rattle of wheels and the 
slap-slap of horses' hoofs on Beacon Street. Old and young, 
everyone oeems to be possessed with a sudden craze for danc- 
ing. At many restaurants where I have been with Walker and 
his wife, the floor is reserved for dancing and the diners dance 
between the courses of the meal. 

Walker, genial as always, was much surprised at my naivete. 
I do not object to dancing, as you know, and I flatter myself 
that I am considered a rather tolerable waltzer, but the steps 
here are surprising and frequently suggestive. I am sure I am 
as broad-minded as most people, but 1 could not suppress a 
start of astonishment; and I wonder what you would have 
said to behold men and women with their arms about each 
other, locked in a close embrace, walking and hopping to this 
"ragtime" which I once heard Eleanor playing upon the piano. 
The names of these dances reveal their nature: the Turkey 
Trot, the Bunny Hug, and the Grizzly Bear. What astonished 
me more was to see people whom we both know indulging in 
them freely. After watching for some time, Walker's wife 


asked me to follow their example. She said that she could teach 
me quite easily, as the steps were not much more? than walking 
backwards and forwards in time to the very obvious beat of the 

As a matter of fact, she proved a very able instructress and 1 
actually enjoyed myself very much. I think people are quite 
wrong in their criticism of Walker. The Mapes girl is very 
charming and amazingly gay and beautiful. Natural, spon- 
taneous, and yet quite different from anyone I have ever seen, 
she is really a very kind, simple person. She comes from Sche- 
nectady, New York. 

I think I shall be very glad to get home and away from this 
restlessness and uncertainty. I wonder if this represents a 
phase of life that John and Eleanor must live. I can understand 
much better now certain snatches I have heard of their conversa- 
tion and I think we must both be broad-minded and very tol- 
erant. It may be a time of change and we must conform to it, 
we must try to combine what is good in the new with the good 
in the old. 

There is no doubt that this visit to New York made a pro- 
found impression upon Apley. A short time after his return he 
gave a small, congenial dinner. After the meal was over the 
parlor floor was cJeared, a professional appeared to play the 
piano, and ApJey, and others versed in them, exhibited some of 
these new steps. Many of the company finally joined, and, later 
still, many took lessons, as it was found to be on the whole a 
healthy form of exercise, but Apley was already aware of the 
Aimblings of a changing world. 

I am quite convinced [he wrote] that we are approaching 
the end of an era. I don't know quite what will happen to us, 
but 1 have faith in our common sense, just as I have faith in 
our inheritance. 



Old Haunts of Youth 

Viewed through Maturer Eyes; and 

More Cares of Parenthood 

TTN THE autumn of 1 9 1 o John Apley, after spending a large 
-LL part of the summer at Dixon's tutoring school in Cam- 
bridge, successfully passed his entrance examinations for Har- 
vard and entered the Freshman class, thus affording the father 
a new and vicarious interest. Cambridge, like the world at 
large, was changing. Though many of the landmarks still re- 
mained, the Cambridge which John Apley faced was more of 
a city than a town. There were available for the students many 
luxurious accommodations. The vicinity of Mt. Auburn Street 
was called facetiously in the press the "Gold Coast," and it 
was not difficult to understand the connotation, when one con- 
siders the huge new student dormitories which had been built 
up in that neighborhood Dunster, Claverly, Randolph, and 
Westmorly Halls. In addition to these a subway, connecting 
Cambridge and Boston, was nearing completion and eventually 
Boston would be twelve minutes, instead of an hour's dis- 
tance, from Cambridge. These changes deeply bothered Apley, 


and he could not view them all as improvements for the better. 
In his opinion matters were moving too fast, far too fast. 

The othei day [he writes] 1 took my customary walk across 
the Common. The Common, due to unceasing vigilance, has 
undergone no great alteration. The facades of the buildings 
on upper Beacon Street and the State House dome are much 
the same, but what of Tremont Street and what of Boylston? 
The shops and theatres there are startling. Boston is growing 
to be a very large and restive place, yet, in a way, I am proud of 
its growth. 

Letter to John Afley. 

Dear John: 

1 suppose a father always writes advice to his son upon the 
important moment of his entering college and 1 am no excep- 
tion. A large part of your future life will be influenced by what 
you do this next year. The habits and ties you form will be 
with you always. At least, they have been with me, and I want 
you to do the right thing. There is a great deal of talk about 
democracy. I thought there was something in it once but now 
1 am not so sure. You cannot be too careful to select friends 
who have the same bringing-up as your own, and I want your 
friends to be my friends. You must bring them around to 
Beacon Street as much as possible on Saturdays and Sundays. 
Besides helping yourself, this wilJ also be a great help to 
Eleanor and 1 am sure we can al] enjoy ourselves a great deal. 

Sometimes it seems to me that you are reticent in talking to 
your parents. You are making a great mistake, John, for I 
really think that I could be a good deal of help to you. I am 
still quite well-known around the Club, you know, and your 
first object must be to "make" the Club. I believe that every- 
thing else, even including your studies, should be secondary 


to this. You may call this a piece of worldly counsel but it is 
worth while, I don't know what I should have done in life 
without the Club. When I leave Boston it is my shield. When 
I am in Boston it is one of my great diversions. The best people 
are always in it, the sort that you will understand and like. I 
once tried to understand a number of other people, but I am 
not so sure now that it was not a waste of time. Your own sort 
are the best friends and you will do well not to forget it. 

I hope very much that you will do nothing to give you the 
reputation of being peculiar. 1 know well that it is hard always 
to be conventional, for one rather struggles against convention 
at your age. On the whole you will find that this struggle is a 
mistake and really a great waste of time. Do not try to be 
different from what you are because in the end you will find 
that you cannot be different. Learn to accept what you are as 
soon as possible, not arrogantly but philosophically. You repre- 
sent something which is potentially very important. In a sense 
you are setting an example to other people. You will not be- 
lieve it now, but you will later. 1 can see already how futile it 
is to give advice and yet 1 shall persibt. It is only because 1 want 
you to be happier than 1 have been. It is only because 1 see so 
clearly that a great part of my uneasiness in previous years has 
been entirely wasted effort. 1 have been chafing in a way at an 
environment, and only lately it has been coming over me that 
it is the only environment in which 1 could possibly have sur- 
vived. I am proud of it, 1 am thankfuJ that I am in it. Some 
day you will be, John. I suppose now that you find yourself 
laughing at certain mannerisms and certain dictates of conven- 
tion. You will not do so in time. You will find they are all very 
important, not only to yourself, but to other people. 

It occurs to me that I am being more intimate and frank 
than I have been with you ever before but I am doing so for 
your own good. I am going to bcx so frank as to talk to you 


about women. You will, of course, be honourable with all 
women, because you are my son. You will treat them all, even 
women of pleasure, if you see them, with invariable considera- 
tion and respect. I am not anxious about this. I go back only to 
a certain phase which I went through when I was about your 
age. It sometimes seemed to me that the type of girl with whom 
I was brought up was somewhat dull, largely because I had 
known her and her kind always. This is a very great mistake. 
In the end she is the sort with whom you will get on best. Your 
own mother is a perfect example of this. You know how much I 
depend on her. I depend on her more and more eacft year. 

If I had married someone from New York, or someone from 
the Middle West, as some of my acquaintances have, there 
would have been an inevitable clash between standards and en- 
vironments. Believe me, marriage is difficult enough without 
this added complication. It is well for you to keep this in the 
back of your mind, though I don't suppose you will. The other 
day my friend Vassal and I were talking and we both agreed 
that after all Boston girls are the best. 

This leaves me to make a confession to you because you are 
my son. It is a matter of which I have seldom spoken but of 
which I think a great deal and it has had more to do with my 
life than I readily care to contemplate. I was once in love with 
a girl whom I met on Central Square, and I will allow nothing 
to be said against her. I owe it largely to my father, who saw 
the folly of this infatuation, that 1 was not involved in quite 
a different life from the one I have led. I have been bitter about 
it for many years. 1 have sometimes wondered, as we all won- 
der about such things, whether it would not have been better 
if I had married Mary Monahan. I suppose this may amuse 
you; but it would not, if you had seen her. I am aware now 
that it would have been a very great mistake. I mention it to 
show you that I may not be such an old "fogey" as you think, 


and also to show you that life is dangerous at your age. I have 
opened this page for you for a moment because I want you to 
realize that 1 have some authority to speak as I dd in the be- 
ginning of this letter. For better or worse, we are what we 
are. Don't try to be different, John. ... 

Thus, at the end of this decade, we find Apley finally recon- 
ciled to that important precept, "Know Thyself." He had de- 
veloped in stature both as to assurance and as to resignation. 
Catharine Apley herself appears to have felt this, when she, 
traveled with George Apley and the Thomas Wilkinsons for 
a bicycle tour through England. She writes: 

Dear Mother: 

George has been perfectly sweet all the time and such a dis 
tinguished person. Of course, we visited Sir Thomas and Lad} 
Hadley to see the portrait which George is thinking of buying 
for the museum. Everyone was really delighted with George 
and he seemed entirely at home in English country life, more 
at home I think than he really is in America. He no longer 
wants to wander away by himself in that lonely, moody way 
of his that you have noticed. Instead, at times, he has been the 
very life of the party. 1 think after this when he returns to 
Boston he is going to be a good deal more conscious of his posi- 
tion there and will do much more to take his place. He seems 
to realize that the things I have wanted of him for so long are 
really the important things. I think I have done very well with 
George and I am very proud of him. * . . 

A letter from George Apley is couched in slightly different 

I find it just as well to do what Catharine wants. It saves 
such a great deal of trouble. Thus I have let her buy the tickets 


and arrange everything. We have visited a great many Norman 
churches and a great many people to whom she has letters and, 
curiously enough, our old life seems to go with us everywhere. 
It is singular how many people there are from Boston. It re- 
minds me of ttye last trip I took abroad, a Jong while ago, but 
this time I have found it pleasant. We all know each other so 
well and we all get on so well together. 

I suppose this is because I am getting old. As I look back 
upon my life, nothing much seems to have happened to me. 
Perhaps this is just as well but 1 still wish that something might 
happen. I should somehow like to know what I am made of. 1 
wonder if I ever shall. 

He did not know, when he wrote this letter, how close he 
was approaching to this realization of self and what demands 
circumstance would make upon him. He did not know until the 
summer of 1914, which marked the outbreak of the European 
War. It was not until the time when he took his place among 
the few who were to arouse our national conscience that Apley 
was to find a true scope for his character. In a way his entire 
life was a preparation for this, as we shall see in dealing with 
this subject. 



Dealing with the Difficulties 
Of Living in a Reluctant and Neutral Nation 

THE ATTITUDE of Boston toward the questions ii* 
volved in the World War was essentially George Ap- 
ley's attitude. It would be difficult for this to be otherwise since 
the conscience of those like Apley was the basis of the Boston 
reaction. ^Those who say that New England has become de- 
cadent would do well to remember the lessons of the war. The 
same inherent sense of justice and of differentiation between 
right and wrong which brought Boston to the forefront in the 
American Revolution and in the Civil War were to work 
again with an equal force. 

"To any rightly thinking person," George Apley wrote in 
a letter to the Boston Evening Transcript in the early part of 
1915, "there can be no compromise between wrong and right. 
Germany is wrong and the Allies are right. The devastations of 
Belgium and the atrocities of the invading horde of barbarians 
we an outrage to civilized mankind." 

This point of view he held in common with all but a few 

radicals and eccentrics. From the very beginning of hostilities 


George Apley began to devote the full force of his interest to 
the Allied cause. As the conflict spread and its vital issues be- 
came more pronounced, until it was patent that democracy and 
all human freedom were in the balance, Apley became more and 
more bewildered at the indifference of the rest of the country 
to this truth. He laid it, as many others did, to the vacillat- 
ing tactics and to the intentionaJ blindness of a Democratic ad- 
ministration. He watched with growing impatience our tempo- 
rizing with Germany, which must forever be a blot upon this 
country. He felt it was his duty to express himself freely upon 
this subject and he was careful to do so on every occasion that 
offered itself. 

Again, as in many other phases of his life, his letters to his 
friend Walker are of particular value here. He speaks for him- 
self in them, with a spirit of conviction and sacrifice which even 
his enemies, and he made many in these years, could not but 
reluctantly admire. For nearly the first time in his life he was 
confronted with a real cause in which he could act from definite 
conviction. For the first time in his life he was at his best, a man 
of militance and fire. 

I cannot understand George [we find Catharine Apley writ- 
ing]. The war seems to have utterly upset him. He can talk 
of nothing else, nothing else seems to interest him. At the 
CaJdwells* the other evening we met a Mr. Nixon who had 
studied at Heidelberg and who had some pro-German lean- 
ings. George was so upset by this that I was afraid he would 
grow violent, particularly when Mr. Nixon said that the Ger- 
man army was better equipped and disciplined than the French. 
The library at Beacon Street is one great mass of maps stuck 
with pins to indicate the opposing .lines. I do hope for all our 
sakes that the war will be over in a little while. 


Yet Catharine Apley herself was being carried forward on 
the tide of sentiment. She shared, with many others around 
her, a deep affection for France and for the cool courage and 
the debonair spirit of the Poilu. Thus we find her writing again 
in the spring of 1916: 

George brought the dearest French officer to dinner, who is 
over here on a mission to buy munitions. He was so beautiful 
in his new horizon-blue uniform and hardly older than John. 
His manners were absolutely perfect and I am so proud of the 
way Eleanor speaks French with him. Eleanor, of course, wants 
to be a nurse in France but this is completely absurd. 

The present author, who served with Apley on many wai 
committees, noticed a very great change in him, a new assur- 
ance, a new decisiveness, and a demand for action which is re- 
flected in his letters to his old school and college friends. 

Some of us [he writes] are trying very hard here to prepare 
public opinion for the inevitable. It is quite clear, from the in- 
formation we are able to gather through several informal com- 
mittees of which I am a member, that this country is riddled 
with German spies and the brains of the system are actually 
located beneath the very shadow of the Capitol Dome in Wash- 
ington. There are a number of rumours here, that we are en- 
deavouring to run down, of undercover activity. There are 
too many Germans in Boston and all of them should be 
watched, now that they have placed themselves beyond the 
pale of civilisation by their policy of frightfulness. I believe 
it is absolutely true, as it is rumoured, that concrete emplace- 
ments are being built on the hills around here for heavy guns 
and that there are a number of wirelesses along the coast which 
signal to submarines. There is nothing to do now, of course, 


but to wait. In thf meanwhile, I for one am very sorry that any 
tacit approval is given Germany by employing not only a Ger- 
man, but an ardent German sympathizer, as a director of our 
Symphony Orchestra. It may be true that the man is an artist, 
if any German can be an artist, which I very much doubt, but 
any sympathy with him is only a compromise with justice. 
Besides this, the man is probably a spy besides being a musician. 
It is shocking to me also that there is a certain amount of 
tolerance in Harvard University. Thank Heaven, most of the 
students there take the right position, but John tells me that 
certain members of the teaching staff actually speak favourably 
of Germany in lectures. Obviously, a stand for neutrality is 
absurd in the face of overt hostility. It must be clear to every- 
one that Germany is endeavoring to embroil us in a war with 
Mexico, and yet nothing is done about it by the sentimentalists 
in Washington. Thank Heaven that there are a few voices cry- 
ing aloud in the wilderness and I hope that my own is among 

As one reads these letters in the light of the present, their 
contents may seem unreal, since much has happened in the way 
of disillusion. Weary tolerance has crept over many, which was 
not present at the time when George Apley wrote. His senti- 
ments may have been right or wrong, but this in no way alters 
the strength of his deep conviction. Like his ancestors, Apley 
was standing squarely for the right. When the Lusitania was 
sunk on the seventh of May, 191 5, he breathed a sigh of relief, 
for it was his opinion that his country would at last stand for 
the right. The amazingly supine attitude of the nation at large 
pained him, as did the temporizing tone of President Wilson's 
noteb, which left an actual loophole for discussion; and his 
activities in the various protest meetings against the sinking 
of the I.usuan'a are very well remembered 


He writes to Walker at about this time: 

There is another ugly phase of the situation here. It has to 
do with our racial situation here in Boston. Since the sinking 
of the Lusitania, much of the Irish element, due to the fanatical 
ideas of certain Irish Independence agitators, I suspect, is tac- 
itly in sympathy with Germany. I heard yesterday that many 
persons are going about saying that Germany did very well to 
sink the Lusitania y that she was an armed vessel carrying murji- 
tions. This seems incredible, but I have reason to believe that 
it is absolutely true. In the event of war I dread that the Ger 
mans may stir up something close to strife in Boston. The hold 
of the Catholic Church here is particularly sinister. In the last 
few years a number of religious institutions have been buying 
tracts of land for schools and orphan asylums. It is very notice- 
able that each one of these sites is selected on a piece of rising 
ground, commanding a view of the country for miles about. It 
is not reassuring to feel that these sites have been chosen with 
suspicious military accuracy. An enormous amount of concrete 
is being used in these constructions and it is even said that gun 
emplacements are being made. It is certainly high time that 
there should be some sort of preparedness. I wish there were 
something active that 1 might do, but instead 1 have been born 
at the wrong time. 1 have already volunteered for the Ameri- 
can Ambulance, only to find that there is a need for younger 
men. 1 had not realized that 1 was old. 1 do not feel particularly 
old. All I can do is to contribute as largely as my means will 
allow and I have offered John the opportunity to join this 
ambulance service when he has finished his first year at Law 
School. I am somewhat hurt that he does not take the idea as 
seriously as I do. He has, however, agreed to attend the citizens' 
camp at Plattsburg and this, at least, is something. I am anxious 
to go myself but 1 am very busy with committee work. 


A large number of committees are forming here, as I sup- 
pose they are everywhere else. A great many of us are trying 
to do what little we can in this crisis and in a sense I truly be- 
lieve it is revitalizing Boston, that it is imbuing this city with 
some part of an old spirit, that it is refurbishing ideals. I am 
aware of a new vitality and a new pride everywhere around 
me. This is taking a tangible shape in the vast new Technology 
buildings on the other side of the river. It has a spiritual mani- 
festation in the raising of our enormous new City Club, where 
every citizen is welcome as a member at a purely nominal cost 
and where our civic affairs and problems are open to discussion. 
I have attended several formal luncheons in this fine new build- 
ing and I must confess that I have found the company there 
deeply interesting and refreshing. It is made up of individuals 
of a sort whom I have not an opportunity of meeting every 
day, but many of them are most congenial. We are in a great 
brotherhood there for the betterment of Boston. We all realize 
that we have a stake in this community. There are politicians 
and newspapermen, some of them very brilliant after one 
penetrates their rough exterior, lawyers and small businessmen. 
It helps me very much to form this contact with new minds and 
I hope that they benefit from me. Yes, it is highly stimulating, 
this rubbing of elbows intellectually. 

And so it is with the war committees, a new burden which 
we are assuming besides our local charities. Besides several 
committees which have been formed to stimulate and to en- 
courage positive action on the part of the administration, there 
are committees collecting funds and supplies of food and cloth- 
ing for various groups of war sufferers, notably the Belgians, 
Serbs, and Poles. I regret that there is also a committee raising 
a fund for milk for German babies, but its efforts have made 
no great headway. Most of these groups are remarkably demo- 
cratic; indeed many of their most active workers are persons 


of whom I have never heard before. This has raised a suspicion 
that certain persons are using this means to have themselves 
recognized by a section of society that has been more or less 
closed to them, but I do not believe this. At any rate, it is 
no time for social distinctions. I am very glad to see both Catha- 
rine and Eleanor, while they are making bandages for the Red 
Cross, rubbing elbows and laughing with women from the 
Newtons. It is all a part of this new spirit of camaraderie. 

I have spoken to you before of this new spirit [he writea 
again], it makes me very proud of the place I live in. Its 
genuineness is attested by a species of religious revival. We 
have just received one of the most remarkable men of the 
day here, of whom 1 had never heard, but perhaps you may 
have. The man's name is Billy Sunday, a revivalist with gen- 
uine oratorical gifts- He has erected a huge tabernacle on 
Huntington Avenue a tent the size of a circus tent. His 
language i* the sort that appeals to everyone. 1 was induced 
to go by my sor^ John, who said I would be interested. I was 
more than interested, so much so that after hearing him once 
I brought Catharine and Eleanor the next evening. The ex- 
pressions of this man may be crude, but their very crudity is 
convincing enough to sway a multitude to tears and laughter. 
Although I admit I cannot agree intellectually with his Biblical 
interpretations, 1 am in deep sympathy with what he is trying 
to do. I met him at the end of one of the revivalist meetings 
and I shall never forget the interview. Sunday was seated in a 
space partitioned off behind the stage from which he had de- 
livered his strange address. A dressing-gown was thrown over 
his shoulders. He was perspiring freely from his exertion. Sit* 
ting there he looked more like an athlete than a preacher. As a 
matter of fact, I believe that he is a professional baseball player. 
For the first few moments I found it hard to be natural with 


him. He seized my hand in a vise-like grip and asked me if 1 
thought he was driving the Devi] out of Boston. After a few 
moments he seemed quite as interested in me as 1 was in him. 
A middle-aged woman was sitting beside him, whom he in- 
troduced as "Ma." 1 was glad at the end of the interview to 
write him out a check for $5,000, provided he did not mention 
my name as a contributor. Yes, I am learning a great deal these 
days about all sorts of people. The more I learn, the more I see 
how much good there is in everyone. Sunday is coming down 
next week to give a ten-minute talk to the men at the Apley 
Sailors' Home. 

It was about this time, as Apley was treading this broader 
stage, that he was obliged to make a stand of a very different 
nature, for he found himself confronted with a difficulty that 
concerned his own flesh and blood, his friend and second 
cousin John Apley. So much has already been said about this 
matter that it may seem like resurrecting useless gossip to air 
it in these pages. We include it only in that it illustrates the 
soundness of Apley J s judgment. 

One is safe in saying that Apley's cousin, John Apley, was of 
a different type, highly likeable and sought-after in society, but 
hotblooded and irresponsible. His marriage at the end of his 
senior year at Harvard, to Georgina Murch of Brookline, had 
left him comfortably off. The young couple had moved to the 
North Shore, where Apley's stables and his hunters are too 
well known to require much mention. The family passion, 
which amused and somewhat exasperated George Apley, was 
almost entirely confined to this peculiar sport. 

I have just been to luncheon at my cousin's house [George 
Aolev writes at about this time] , an informal lunch with Catha- 


rine and myself and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Bracking. The lunch- 
eon was quite informal and it was more like dining in a stable 
than a house. Georgina had on a riding habit and John had on 
riding breeches; so did the Breckings. Betty Brecking wore 
oreeches without a skirt. The plates had horses' heads upon 
them and in the centre of the table was a silver horse, presented 
to John by some hunt club. Nearly every room was decorated 
with hunting prints and the hall was hung with riding crops 
and even bridles. After lunch we three men retired for a while 
to John's study to drink some very good brandy and there I 
noticed that the inkwell on his desk was made out of a horse's 
hoof. John talked to me for a while about the stock market 
and I became quite alarmed at his ideas. Tom Brecking seemed 
to me to be rather ill at ease. Once the brandy was finished, we 
joined the ladies and went outside to a field where a number 
of very fine horses were being led in a line by grooms. Then 
Betty Brecking and John signified their intention of riding 
some of these horses over a series of jumps, which they did 
while the rest of us watched. It seemed to me that neithe** 
Georgina nor Brecking appreciated the exhibition. 

This quotation may be enough to foreshadow the ensuing 
situation, although the writer very well knows that it burs> 
upon George Apley like a clap of thunder. Thus, the follow- 
ing letters from his cousin John Apley, which he kept in his. 
files, require no comment. 

Dear George: 

I think you ought to know, among the first, that I am leaving 
Georgina. We have never understood each other. I may add 
that Betty Brecking is leaving her husband. 1 suppose this is 
going to make a complicated situation but I think you may 
understand it, George, better than most. . . . 


Dear George: 

Your answer is incredible. When I consider you and Clara 
Goodrich, I don't see why you are in any very great position 
to read me a lecture about family. I know that this is the first 
time such a thing has happened to the Apleys and what of 

Dear George: 

I have thought over our talk of yesterday, as you have sug- 
gested that I should, and I am still somewhat shocked by it. 
Betty and Georgina and Tom and I have all listened to you 
carefully and I must say 1 never knew you would have quite 
the character to lay your cards on the table the way you did. 
I must say you have us very nearly where you want us. 1 know 
that I have been financially obligated to you for a long while 
and now you have tied my hands. I even admit that you have 
done so out of your own perverted sense of justice. I admit that 
you believe in keeping the family together at the risk of ruin- 
ing lives. Well, you've done it and due to you we are going to 
go along as though nothing whatsoever had happened. Be- 
lieve me, my relationship with Betty will be as beautiful as 
yours but there's one thing that I hope. I hope to heaven some 
day I may be able to give you a little sound advice and mean- 
while I should like very much to think that I shall never have 
to speak to you again. Don't worry. I shall, of course. . . . 

Those who were close to Apley at the time know best the 
pain that was caused him by this complex affair. In spite of his 
satisfaction in knowing that the vstand he had taken was just, 
it was hard to pay the cost of losing the affection of a relative 
and a lifelong friend. In doing so, however, he gained the 
respect of many others, among them his uncle, William Apley, 
who was failing in health. 


In putting the screws on him [the old gentleman says in one 
of his last letters] you did, of course, the only thing possible. 
I would not have known you were capable of it, but now I 
know you are your father's son. 

George Apley scarcely alluded to the matter to his own son, 
as he naturally considered the less said about such a scandal the 
better. His one allusion was indirect. It is contained in a letter 
written his son during a vacation in the latter's second year 
at the Harvard Law School, which he was spending with 
friends in New York. 

I have just been confronted with a very difficult family crisis, 
one that has played heavily upon my emotions. Much as 1 hope 
it will not, it will probably come to your ears some day. If it 
should I hope you will remember that your father acted for 
the best, according to his lights. You are reaching a time when 
you will find out what my own father pointed out to me at a 
very trying time in my own career: that family is more im- 
portant than the individual, that a family must be solid before 
the world, no matter what the faults may be of a single mem- 
ber, that a family has a heritage to hand down which must be 
protected. I can give you a number of interesting examples of 
this in the lives of people whom you have known always, but 
you probably know of these yourself. Several individuals in 
my own generation have been sent to the South and West, 
where they are probably making new lives for themselves, but 
here their names are no longer mentioned. A girl I knew at 
dancing school became involved with a public-hack driver. I 
do not believe you would ever know her name, because the 
matter has been kept as silent as the tomb. There is another 
man, a friend of mine once, who abstracted family silver from 
the safe-deposit vault and pawned it in order to pay a gambling 


debt. I do not know where he is to-day. These examples may 
seem harsh to you and perhaps somewhat ridiculous. They 
did to me, when I was young, but believe me they will not as 
you live longer. Thesq matters are not actuated by pride be- 
cause they are beyond pride. There are some things which one 
does not speak about and you will learn to follow this same 
reticence. I am glad to tell you before I leave this subject that 
there are very few skeletons in our family closet. 

1 am sorry that you are not here with your mother and sister 
and me during your vacation. This gadabout habit you have 
assumed of wandering away from Boston will not pay you in 
the end. Above all, I cannot imagine what you see in New 
York. You are not really fitted to cope with the place, and 
surely you can't like it. You face a foreign philosophy down 
there, but 1 suppose one is venturesome when one is young. 

Your mother and Eleanor are both well. Eleanor is the 
centre of a great deal of society but the young men who come 
to the house do not seem to me particularly worth while and 
I am sorry that many of them are your friends. Though their 
manners are interesting enough, very few of them seem to have 
any definite prospects j and 1 can find out very little of most of 
their backgrounds as they nearly all are students from out of 
town. Eleanor takes the same lofty attitude about this as you 
do, that such things do not matter. 1 am not speaking en- 
tirely of money, because 1 hope that you and Eleanor will both 
be comfortably off. 1 am speaking of something that money 
can't buy congeniality of habits and manners. 

This reticence of which George Apley speaks, regarding 
family matters, did not confine itself to scandals. It was his 
rule also never to speak of his generosity toward many distant 
and impoverished branches of the Apley family. Only after his 
death did it become apparent how many of his relatives had 


him to thank for saving them through crisis and illness, for 
educating the younger generation, and, more than anything 
else, for saving many who became involved in the disastrous 
crash of 1929. It would be safe to assume that the estate which 
George Apley left at his death would have been even larger 
except for his family loyalty, especially as he suffered like so 
many others from trusting too much to local institutions. It was 
fortunate for his issue that a large part of his fortune was in 
trust when the firm of Apley Brothers became involved at that 
time through the unforeseen machinations of one of its part 
nersj otherwise Apley would have stepped into the breach 
with all his resources simply because of the family name, for 
at that time there was no Apley in the firm. 



A Son in Texas 
And Other Family Difficulties 

IN THESE years Apley had little time for more than 
casual writing and almost none for quiet meditation. He 
was deeply involved in the Preparedness Parade and the Allied 
Bazaar, and finally the actuality of war came home to him 
with the troubles on the Mexican Border. The present writer 
recalls a certain evening very well when Apley telephoned 
him in deep agitation. "Come to see me," he said. "John is 
going to the Border. John is going to war." 

He was sitting in his library at Beacon Street and his son, 
John Apley, was with him. George Apley had taken the oc- 
casion to open a bottle of Madeira, for the news which had been 
conveyed to him that very evening that his son had joined the 
National Guard came as a distinct shock. 

I never knew how much Father cared about me [John Ap- 
ley wrote some timp later] until the night I told him I was 
going down to the Border as a private of artillery, and he 
called me up to the library to speak to me alone. Incidentally, 


we thought at the time that there was going to be real fighting 
and that we would go in with Pershing's column. 

"Of course," Father said, "it is the only thing for you to do," 
and he paused and blew his nose, "particularly consider- 
ing that everyone else is going. I am glad that you are going 
with a distinctly Boston battery, but this upsets a great many 
of my plans." I knew what he meant by that, although of 
course we did not allude to it. He meant that a permanence 
which he had always been striving for was threatened. That 
whole world of his was being threatened. He was thinking of 
the portraits and the silver, but he was thinking of me, too. 
He said, "John, when are you going into camp?" And I told 
him the next day, and then he cleared his throat. 

"John," he said, "perhaps 1 shouldn't keep you here. There 
may be some girl that you would like to see to-night." I told 
him there wasn't and he cleared his throat again. 1 could see 
that he was very much embarrassed. 

"I think it might be nice," he said, "if you went to call on 
Evelyn Newcomb, don't you?" 

"You mean you want me to get married and leave an heir?" 
I said. 

This was almost the only time I ever saw him blush and he 
said, "Certainly not, but if you should wish to get married, 
John, I should not blame you in the least," and I told him that 
I would think it over. He changed the subject and began speak- 
ing of my immediate plans, but later, when he opened the 
bottle of Madeira, he came back to it again. 

"John," he said, "as man to man, is there anyone you care 
about?" Then I told him that I had met a girl in New York 
last spring. 

"Good God," he said. "New York?" And then he took an- 
other glass. "I don't think anything Fve done will amount to 


I could understand him then. He was counting on me in 
i way. I had never known him quite as well as I did that 
night. 1 remember a single other remark he made. "I wish to 
heaven," he said, "that there had been a war when 1 was 
young. I wonder . . . Things might have been quite dif- 
ferent." And then he shook hands with me and said, "I want 
you to be happy, John." 

That was all, but as I say, I knew him better than I ever had 
before. He seemed to step out of the frame of his Sargent 
portrait. I don't suppose I ever realized till then that Father 
was a frustrated man, but then I could see that he had been 
trying all his life to get through the meshes of a net, a net 
which he could never break, and in a sense it was a net of his 
own contriving. 

The imminence of war which was largely averted by the 
time that John Apley and his companions were leaving Fram- 
ingham for the Border was succeeded for George Apley by a 
crisis of a somewhat different nature, occasioned by the death 
and burial of Mrs. Henry Apley, a somewhat distant family 
connection. Her sons, entirely within their right, buried their 
mother in the Apley lot of the Mt. Auburn Cemetery that 
gracious, well-endowed, and beautifully attended piece of 
ground where so many have found their final resting place 
and where others hope to, including the present writer. It was 
Apley's invariable custom to attend every funeral of the family, 
but on this occasion, being much pressed for time, he was not 
among those present at the grave, nor did he attend to the 
grave's location, although he was one of the trustees of the 
Apley lot. Instead, he entrusted these details to his second 
cousin, Roger Apley, greatly to his subsequent regret. His 
letters, however, are self-explanatory: 


Dear Roger: 

Yesterday, happening to be motoring with Cathar ne toward 
Concord, we stopped at Mt. Auburn Cemetery as is our habit 
whenever we pass by it. I was particularly anxious to see how 
the young arbor vitae which we decided, after so much debate, 
to plant on the southern border, were surviving the early sum- 
mer heat. I was pleased to see that they were doing very well 
indeed and, in fact, was about to leave when 1 noticed that 
Cousin Hattie had been placed in that part of the lot which 
I had always understood, and which I believe everyone in the 
family has understood, was reserved for my particular branch. 
I refer to the part of ground around the oak tree which my 
father had ordered planted. This was a favourite place of his 
and has a peculiarly sentimental significance to me and to my 
children. As you know, these matters grow more important 
with the growing years. I cannot conceive what prompted you 
to allow Cousin Hattie to occupy this spot. Not only do I 
think she should not be there, but also her pink granite head- 
stone with the recumbent figure on top of it, which I suppose 
represents ^n angel, makes a garish contrast to our own plain, 
white marble stones. 

I admit that the Henry Apleys are connections of the family, 
though so distant that they might almost not be considered as 
such. I might also call to your attention that the Henry Apleys, 
due to their straitened circumstances, did not and have never 
contributed to the purchase and maintenance fund of our 
ground. Except for Thanksgiving dinner, I do not recall evei 
having seen Cousin Hattie except twice when she had diffi 
culty in meeting her grandson's tuition bills. Under these cir 
cumstances it seems to me somewhat pushing and presump 
tuous, although I like neither of the words, of the Hem-) 
Apleys to preempt the place they did without at least con- 
sulting me. I may tell you confidentially that I was very much 


disturbed by the reaction of Adam, our chauffeur, who came 
with us, carrying some potted geraniums, slips from some 
which my mother had planted. It was clear to both Catharine 
and me that Adam was very much shocked, from his manner, 
if not from any words. 

It is no use to embroider any further upon this, but I can- 
not forget that I left these arrangements to you, as a member 
of the trustees' committee. 1 feel very sure you did not realize 
how your decision would have affected me, and how it would 
affect my Uncle William who is planning to rest near that 
spot, I am afraid in the very near future. Uncle William, as 
you know, has a series of violent dislikes and among them was 
Cousin Hattie. I hesitate to tell him that she is there, and 
yet 1 am afraid I must do so because he has asked me to go 
with him next week to Mt. Auburn so that he may pick out the 
exact spot he desires. I dread the repercussions of his discovery 
so much that I think it is up to you to make representations to 
the Henry Apley branch and to Arrange that Cousin Hattie 
be exhumed and placed near the arbor vitae trees on the other 
slope. This section of the lot is not occupied at present. Will 
you please let me know what you can do about this. . . . 

Dear Roger: 

I am very much gratified that you realize the seriousness 
of this situation. I agree with you it requires delicacy in han- 
dling, but I do not agree with you that it is too late to do 
anything about it. When the subway was built under Boston 
Common a great many bodies were exhumed from the old 
graveyard there and again buried. I note that you feel that you 
cannot see the Henry Apleys yourself, therefore you had better 
refer them to me. I shall write to Henry Apley to-day as you 
suggest . . . 


Dear Henry: 

Through a piece of mismanagement which I cannot believe 
is any fault of yours, your mother's remains have been placed 
in a spot in our family ground which I have always felt was 
tacitly at the disposal of our branch. I am afraid I must come 
to the point at once and ask that your mother be removed near 
the arbor vitae hedges on the opposite slope. I hope very 
much that you will agree with me when you consider the 
various implications involved, and believe me, I realize that 
my request may be trying to you in this period of your grief. 
I cannot avoid the feeling also that this accident has occurred 
because of my own preoccupation in other matters, therefore 
I want you to realize that I, of course, shall defray all ex- 
penses. Please let me know at once about this as the matter ia 
important. . . . 

Dear Henry: 

1 can ascribe much of your letter to the natural agitation 
which you must feel at such, a time, but I see no reason for your 
final decision. The plot is family property until it is fully oc- 
cupied. My one objection was regarding location. I do not feel 
that I have the slightest right in suggesting that your mother*! 
remains be removed from the Apley plot, and 1 beg you to 
remember that I never did suggest it. 

If, however, you feel that this removal is the most satisfac- 
tory solution of this' difficulty and will relieve your own feel- 
ings, I shall not urge you not to do it. I repeat again that I 
stand ready to defray all expenses. 

Such a contretemps, it will be recognized, bears no great 
novelty $ rather it is a difficulty which has been faced by so 
many that nearly any reader may feel a sympathy for Apley*t 


point of view and may comprehend as well the importance of 
such a negotiation. The consequence obviously foreshadowed 
a rift within the family and explains the reason for many 
breaches which are yet unhealed. At the time Apley was con- 
siderably surprised and not a little hurt by the unsympathetic, 
if not actually hostile, reactions of his own blood relations. He 
became aware for the first time that in spite of his most gen- 
erous efforts certain of his own kin harbored for him a tacit 
resentment that bordered dangerously on dislike. It may only 
be added that he faced it with his usual composure in the be- 
lief that he had conscientiously done wliat was right. 

Even his own uncle, Horatio Brent, who was suffering 
severely at the time from gout and from heart complications, 
saw fit in spite of his devotion to George Apley to remonstrate 
with his nephew's point of view. His letter, which is quoted 
here, is additionally useful in showing the impression that 
George Apley was making upon a certain segment of his own 
group. If this impression is neither a true nor a welcome one 
to those who admired him most, it serves merely as another 
proof that no man of definite character can help but create op- 

Dear George: 

Here 1 am at Pachogue Neck. I am sitting on the old piazza 
where you have been so often, with my foot swathed in band- 
ages. Your aunt, who sends you her love, will not allow me to 
take stimulants and is arranging to have an elevator installed 
to pull me upstairs to bed. Old Bess, my pointer bitch, who 
you remember took first prize in the Dedham Field Trial six 
ve^rs back, is sitting here beside me creaky in her joints and 
I am afraid the vet will have to put her out of the way by 
Autumn. Frankly, I wish we had vets instead of doctors, be- 


cause I believe I should be put out of the way too quite as much 
as Bess. 

It seems funny to see the whole world look as young as 
ever, to smell the salt air and to see the water sparkling on the 
bay, and to be so old myself. Frankly, George, it is damnably 
unpleasant. I think of all the good times we had together. I 
think of when your aunt and I took you to Paris with Henrietta 
to get you over that abortive romance. You can laugh at it now, 
I guess. I think of lots of things, because there is nothing else 
to do, and 1 hope you won't mind your uncle writing a few 
words to you because he is fond of you. 

Of course 1 have heard about the Mt. Auburn Cemetery 
row. Everybody at Pachogue Neck has been talking about it 
for the past two weeks. 1 don't mind where Hattie is buried 
I don't mind much where anyone is buried except that I do 
not like the idea of throwing around ashes, but 1 wonder if 
you see yourself the way other people see you. I don't like 
people outside of the family to be laughing at you, George. 
I don't like to have them say that you are exhibiting a sense of 
your own pompousness and your own importance, because I 
know that you are not. 1 know what the trouble is with you: 
it is the galere in which we have all had to live. We have all 
been told from the nu^ery that we are important and that we 
must do the right thing. Believe me you don't feel important 
when you have the gout. 1 want to tell you something that it 
won't hurt to remember. I know that I have forgotten it often 
enough myself, but here it is. Most people in the world don't 
know who the Apleys are and they don't give a damn. I don't 
intend this as rudeness but as a sort of comfort. 1 know it has 
been a comfort to me sometimes when talking with your aunt. 
Just remember that most people don't give a damn. When you 
remember it, you won't feel the necessity of taking the Apleys 
ao seriously. I hope you know the way 1 mean it. ... 


Although George Apley undoubtedly sympathized with 
this point of view, at the same time it bothered him 5 and his 
letters to his son John, who was stationed at the Border, showed 
that he was as keenly aware as ever of his own responsibilities. 
They show, besides, a growing solicitude for his children's wel- 
fare, and more than that a fear that his children might be hos- 
tile. In fact Apley was reaching that stage which every parent 
must face who observes that universal phenomenon, the 
perennial revolt of youth from the ways of its parents. 

Dear John: 

I am glad to hear that everything is comfortable for you 
in Texas. Your letter sounds most interesting, although I can- 
not understand a large part of it. Of course this matter of pre- 
paredness is vitally important. It will be a perpetual blot al- 
ways on the history of this country that we have not drawn the 
sword long ago to defend our national honour in the face of 
German frightfulness. Here at home we are doing what we 
can to help the Allies and at least we have not the torpid lack 
of interest of the hyphenated Americans and of the pacifists in 
the Middle West. The Boston Defense Committee, of which 
I am a member, is organizing a series of meetings. We are do- 
ing everything we can t6 arouse the public and to make them 
understand that heroic England and chivalrous France are 
standing shoulder to shoulder to save our own shamefully 
slothful country from the Hun. There are certain very well- 
informed people at the Lunch Club who believe that the Wash- 
ington Administration is actually pro-German. I hope that 
you understand my point of view in spite of the levity with 
which you sometimes treat these matters. You must, since you 
are in your country's service. 

There is also a belief here that the city is riddled with Ger- 
man spies who are doing their best to foist their propaganda oo 


the public. They have certainly succeeded in reaching a large 
section of our South Boston Irish population which shows a 
definite hostility to England and an unbelievable sympathy in 
the revolutionary tendencies of Ireland. It is said also, and I 
have reasons for believing it, that the Irish Catholic Church 
here is actually pro-German. I am sure when you return you 
will not joke about these matters as you have in the past. . . . 

Dear John: 

Your reply to my letter shows that you simply do not under- 
stand how serious things are with us here in Boston. I hope you 
are not turning into a pacifist (believe me, I only say this 
jestingly because it is unthinkable), but such an attitude on 
your part is not even amusing, on the contrary, very dangerous. 
You must not forget that your name is up for the Province 
Club and such things as you have said in your last letter, if 
said in public, would really hurt you greatly. 

One very agreeable thing has happened here recently. A 
British major, wounded and on leave, has been here giving a 
series of lectures to various discussion groups. He has given us 
a very real impression of what is going on in the battlefields of 
France. Besides this, he is really a capital fellow. His name is 
Fitzhugh Darcy, and he is staying with us at Hillcrest. With 
his help 1 have mounted an additional large map of the Wes- 
tern Front in the library with pins to show the various positions 
along the Somme. As soon as the Transcript arrives, he and 
Eleanor arrange these pins each evening. I may tell you frankly 
that Eleanor seems much interested in him and your mother 
arid I are both delighted, . . . 

Dear John: 

I cannot understand the tone of your last letter. I should 
think you might leave Major Darcy 's background to my own 
good judgment. I certainly feel that I am able to tell a gentle- 


man when I see one. When you caution me that he may be 
an adventurer, your caution seems to me gratuitous, to say 
the least. Everyone here is charmed with his manners. He is a 
public school man who has finished at Sandhurst and he knows 
everyone whom I know in England, which I believe you will 
agree is sufficient. He also has two medals for bravery, besides 
which his manners are utterly delightful. There is every reason 
why Eleanor should be interested in him. You would be too 
if you could hear him tell modestly after dinner how his regi- 
ment "carried on" in the Marne offensive. Your mother is 
charmed with him also. He says quite truthfully that Hillcrest 
is like a bit of home and quite different from establishments 
which he has visited on Long Island. I shall write to the Em- 
bassy in Washington about him as you suggest, though such a 
precaution is really needless. 

One very shocking thing has happened since you have been 
away. The two great elms on the driveway circle are turning 
yellow. At the first sign of this, I telephoned the Arboretum 
and now a dozen men are investigating their roots. Major 
Darcy and Eleanor are our there with them as I write. They 
are going for a picnic on the top of Blue Hill. We have been 
very busy raising subscriptions for the French and British 
Loans. . . . 

Dear John: 

Although I am quite sure that a communication I received 
from Washington to-day is utterly false, the question which it 
has raised has been resolved by the departure of Major Darcy. 
He has left after incurring debts up to five thousand dollars 
which I am gladly offering to underwrite. In spite of this your 
mother and 1 still feel that he is essentially a gentleman and 
not an adventurer. If he has been careless in financial matters! 


we both believe, as do many others who are in a better position 
than you to know, that his forgetfulness is caused by the fright- 
ful strain under which he has laboured. I am sure that he will 
be back with us before long. 

I do not understand why Eleanor feels the way you do, but 
then there is a great deal about you both which I do not 
understand. Your friend, Royall, has stopped in to see her on 
his way to some small summer resort in New Hampshire. I 
have asked you before and 1 wish after this that you would be 
more careful about the friends you invite to the house. You 
must learn to realize that what may seem like a casual piece 
of hospitality to you may be a serious matter to Eleanor and 
to all of us. I have nothing against Royall personally, but the 
fact remains that no one has ever heard of him. Not only was 
he not in the Club at Harvard, but 1 cannot find that he was in 
any other club. His interest in Eleanor, which is somewhat 
marked, sufficiently so to cause your mother to speak to me 
about it last evening, can only be on account^of her money, 
though such a thing means so little to me that I dislike to 
mention it. 1 believe nevertheless that he is not our sort of 
person. . . . 

Dear John: 

Your reply about young Royall disturbs me very much. It 
almost makes me believe that you have been bitten by the 
doctrine of Socialism. You must think of this very carefully. 
Legislation is becoming rapidly more and more Socialistic. 
There has actually been a bill here before the Legislature for 
the State support of the elderly. This, of course, is a matter for 
private charity and not for Government interference. I was 
Amazed last night to hear Eleanor speak warmly and favorably 
of such a measure, and I am afraid that her views come from 


you. I cannot see why you do not understand that such a 
philosophy is utterly subversive and spoils individual initiative. 
The elm trees in the driveway circle are being artificially fed 
and look better. You will be interested to know that we have 
purchased a new Packard. I called on your Uncle William 
yesterday, who is very poorly; he asked after you particularly, 
and surprised me by saying that he liked you. His mind has 
been wandering a good deal of late. I think it would be well if 
you wrote him a letter. . . . 

Dear John: 

Matters have been very difficult here during the last week. 
I want to bring them to your attention seriously, as the time is 
approaching when you must eventually take your position here 
as the son of the house. I have noticed that you have shirked 
this responsibility, but undoubtedly your military training in 
Texas will change you. 

The matter concerns the lower rose garden. As you know it 
contains a number of Damask roses which your grandfather 
transplanted from your great-grandfather's garden in Salem. 
It is true that the bushes are growing old, and that the blooms 
are not particularly attractive. Nevertheless the idea of having 
them removed seems to me unthinkable, yet this is exactly 
what your mother proposes to do. I came upon her myself this 
afternoon and saw her tying ribbons around five of them. You 
know that I admire your mother more than any other woman, 
but nevertheless she has a very determined character. Although 
your Aunt Amelia has been to see her this afternoon about the 
bushes, she is still determined to have them removed. It has 
not been my custom to cross your mother when her mind is 
made up, but this is a time when I must do so. I am sorry to 
say that Eleanor takes her side. When you get this letter, will 
you please send a telegram saying that you do not wish tHe 


bushes to be removed. If there is no telegraph office near your 
artillery camp, I am sure that your captain or your colonel will 
allow you to go in town for the purpose if you tell him that 
the matter is important. It is important. . * . 



The Natural Concern 

Of a Nephew for an Uncle and far 

The Honor oj the Family 

IT WAS toward the end of this disturbed summer that an 
event occurred in the Apley family which was to tax the 
patience of George Apley, and indeed that of all his nearer 
relations, almost to the uttermost. The event to which we 
allude is sufficiently well known to all who read these pages, as 
indeed it is to a great many more besides. 

During this period of intense activity, so soon to reach a 
climax by our nation's tardy entrance into the war, George 
Apley did not permit his other cares to interfere with the very 
nearly filial duty of calling each afternoon upon his Uncle 
William Apley, who because of failing health had been obliged 
to remain, since he refused to go to a hospital, in his Boston 
house. He had been there during the past year under the care 
of a Miss Prentiss, a trained nurse from the Massachusetts 
General Hospital. In spite of his illness, he still held firm to 
the management of the Apley Mills to an extent that obliged 
William Pritchard, the office manager of Apley Brothers and 


later president of the Apley Mills themselves, to call each day 
at the house. 

Pritchard, who was at Harvard some years after the present 
writer and who is well known still as one of the most active 
contributors to Harvard athletic funds, has left an interesting 
account of these visits, in a memorial read at William Apley's 
death before the Apley Library Foundation at Apley Falls. 

I believe [he writes] that the hold of this great man, who 
must be recognized as one of the true founders of New Eng- 
land, was loosened after the incredible difficulties of the Law- 
rence strike in 1912. Although then he was well over eighty 
it is through his efforts alone that Apley Falls did not feel 
the blight of unionism. It is due to his initiative that this para- 
lyzing strike was stopped at the very boundary of the Apley 
Mills Township, and that the workers' union did not throw 
its lot in with the national organization. 

When certain radical agitators appeared in town to disturb 
the Apley workers, always adequately paid and decently cared 
for in blocks of brick houses built at the time of the Civil War, 
it was William Apley who took a step which his younger as- 
sociates frankly hesitated to envisage. It was William Apley 
who arranged for the arrest and expulsion from the Apley Falls 
Municipality not only of these agitators but of a certain subver- 
sive group within the Mills, whose names had been placed be- 
fore him. By this decisive act, high-handed perhaps, yet fully 
justified in the interest of social justice, William Apley kept the 
relationship between owners and workers in the Apley Mills 
that of one large and happy family as it had been in the past, 
and may it remain so in the future. 

Nevertheless those who admire him most have always 
thought that the moral force necessary to rise to this emergency 
had weakened "Uncle Will," as his younger associates were be- 


ginning to call that grand old gentleman. In those last days of 
1916 his thoughts seemed to be more on the comfort of his 
employees than upon the increasing orders which were be- 
ginning to come to us from abroad. 

Although not definitely connected with the management of 
the Apley Mills, George Apley always maintained the keenest 
interest in them as a family institution, and during his daily 
calls on William Apley frequently discussed the situation on 
the Merrimack. 

Uncle William [we find him writing somewhat facetiously 
to his friend Walker] is as keen and bright as ever these days, 
He has the same impatience with me that he always had when 
I was sent to learn the business at Apley Falls. Just this after- 
noon he said to me: 

"George, you don't know what you are talking about. Your 
father did right not to put you into the business." 

Perhaps in a sense the old gentleman is right. He almost 
always is. At any rate he is still an imposing sight seated 
swathed in his armchair, looking like one of the Apley por- 
traits, with Miss Prentiss, his nurse, standing behind him to 
arrange his shawls. Even in his enfeebled condition I feel the 
same respect for him that I have always felt. It is hard to 
escape the ties of youth. Yes, Uncle William's mind is very 
keen. Only yesterday he made another remark: 

"The Mills are going to make money out of this war," he 
said. "No matter what happens, keep the hands contented." 

It is very reassuring to have someone in the house as compe- 
cent, sympathetic, and sensible as Miss Prentiss. There had 
been trouble with other nurses, but at last Miss Prentiss seems 
to fill the bill. 


The following letter from George Apley to his son, still on 
the Texas border, is self-explanatory and requires no further 

Dear John : 

My telegram which was sent you last night has already ap- 
prised you of the blow which has fallen upon us. It is a bitter 
blow and not a little shocking in that it reflects in a sense upon 
the family name. I had feared for some time that your Great- 
Uncle William's mind was wandering, and now there can be 
no doubt of it. Without a word of warning to me or to any 
other member of the family, your great-uncle has married 
Miss Prentiss, his trained nurse. Of course the gesture is un- 
becoming enough to excite ridicule, and your mother and I and 
all of us are deeply upset, since it cannot help but remind many 
people of the vagaries of other old gentlemen. That this 
should have befallen your great uncle, a man of very real im- 
portance, is a sad thing. What I worry about most is that he 
will be remembered ludicrously on account of it. I think I am 
honest in saying that I do not feel concerned about the financial 
interest involved, but rather on account of your Great-Uncle 

Yesterday, your mother and I spent the entire day in calling 
on the family and on friends to say that we were completely 
delighted and that we had known of this for a long while. This 
afternoon we have given a tea at Hillcrest for your new Aunt 
Emeline, which is Miss Prentiss's first name. I need not tell 
you that the family must stay together. If you hav not done 
so already, I want you to send your Aunt Emeline at once a 
telegram of congratulation, also you must write to your friends 
saying that you have known of this for a long time and that 
you, like everyone else in the tamily, are ple?s^d by tb ; s ex- 


pected bit of news. It might be well for you to add, as I have, 
that your Uncle William considered this gesture as the most 
suitable way by which he could express his gratitude for Miss 
Premiss's care. 1 do not think it would be a bad idea for you 
to send a telegram to your Uncle William. As I say, the family 
must stand together. . . . 

It would have probably done no good had some friend at- 
tempted to explain to George Apley that he was unduly sensi- 
tive about this matter, for at such a time the cares of family 
preclude all breadth of vision. Nevertheless any man of the 
world must realize that such crises are of not infrequent oc- 
currence. It has been recognized by many that there is a certain 
phase in the life of the aged when the warmth of the heart seems 
to increase in direct proportion with the years. This is a time 
of life when a solicitous family does well to watch affectionately 
over the vagaries of its unattached relatives, particularly of 
:hose who are comfortably off. Although this need is generally 
recognized in New England, one can recall a number of re- 
lapses and sudden surprises in the experience of one's own 
sphere of acquaintance. Such embarrassments, which are a part 
of life, have on the whole caused but little harm. Several 
former teachers, housekeepers, companions, and nurses have 
become in this way a recognized part of our society, and one is 
now pleased to acknowledge Emeline Prentiss Apley in that 
category. It may be added that all who have known her have 
come to admire her, and that to-day the Friday Afternoon Sew- 
ing Circle meets monthly at her home. 

If Apley was not able at the time to envisage the broader 
aspects of the situation, he and the rest of his family carried 
off the affair with instinctive dignity. There was never a breath 
of criticism heard outside of the family circle. Nevertheless de- 


velopments of the next few days could not but afford him 
considerable relief. 

Letter to John Apley. 

Dear John : 

1 need not tel] you that 1 am greatly pleased both with your 
attitude and with the interest you have displayed in regard to 
your Great-Uncle William. Of course it is exactly what I 
would have expected from a son of mine. I can even under- 
stand your remark about your military interests and the deserts 
of Texas making the affair seem more remote to you than it 
might otherwise. Still you have understood its importance and 
have acted promptly. 

1 now can bring you what I am sure you will agree with me 
is> a piece of very good news and a reward, I think, for meeting 
this crisis bravely and squarely. Yesterday, i had a conversation 
with your Uncle William and your Aunt Emeline. Your 
great-uncle, as I should have known, still has the interest of 
the family at heart, and frankly after my talk with him I feel 
guilty that I should ever have suspected otherwise. In many 
respects, indeed in nearly all, your great-uncle's mind is as 
clear as ever. It is his intention, now placed in legal form, 
that his property shall remain in the family. In fact he proposes 
simply that a comfortable allowance be made to your Aunt 
Emeline out of a portion of his estate during her lifetime, the 
remainder will go to you and Eleanor in trust. I have objected 
to this decision, believing that the remainder should go to me 
for my lifetime, the income to be distributed by me to you 
and Eleanor as I might see fit. You understand, of course, that 
1 have no need for this money, but 1 feel that my experience 
and knowledge of life renders me a fitter steward for this 
responsibility than either of you two children. Frankly, I feel 
that you and Eleanor are both displaying certain tendencies 


which I believe you may regret in later years and which I 
should prefer to be able to control. However, your Uncle Wil- 
liam's views are different and so the matter must rest. 

On the whole 1 am very much relieved. I have been particu- 
larly pleased with the sensible and reasonable attitude of your 
Aunt Emeline. I can even sympathize with some of your great- 
uncle's feeling toward her. She is anxious to be helpful in 
every way; she is fully cognizant of the great good fortune 
which has befallen her, and recognizes the responsibilities of 
her new position as a member of the family. I am taking her 
on Saturday for a bird walk with Clara Goodrich. 

There is one thing now which I think you must realize and 
to which you must give great thought. It is, in the event of your 
Great-Uncle William's death, which I am afraid cannot be 
many months off, that you will be very comfortably situated 
indeed in your own right. I cannot estimate exactly how com- 
fortably. Your Aunt Amelia is writing to you about this also 
and though her advice may seem to you and me somewhat 
snobbish and strait-laced, basically it is sound. It is time, 
John, that you recognize more than you have in the past the 
importance of your new position. You can never forget now, 
whether you like it or not, that you bear the family name. It 
may not mean much to you now but it will. You will be beset 
with many difficulties. You will be harassed by a number of 
requests for contributions. You must learn to spend your 
money wisely and I need not say that your father will be 
ready with advice. Half of your income should be re-invested 
annually. The remaining half should be divided between 
living expenses and charity. I shall give you a list of suitable 
charities. The main thing is not to have too much money 
to spend. This I have found always bewildering and a 
sure pathway to extravagance and foolishness. You have only 
to look about you here among the unhappy members of the 


horsey and sporting set to see what happens when there is too 
much loose money in the bank. I have two immediate sugges- 
tions to make: one is that you start a collection of something, 
let us say of tapestries j the other is that you buy one of the 
large islands near to Pequod Camp. These two methods will 
use up profitably and pleasantly a great deal of loose money in 
a way which no one can criticize. I have found it very im- 
portant to avoid criticism, and it does not look well to be 
extravagant. 1 beg of you to be careful about this and to re- 
member always what we owe to the community. 

If John Apley did not follow this advice, the results surely 
require no comment or criticism in these pages. Aside from 
sensible views on worldly matters, this letter exhibits a grow- 
ing concern on George Apley's part about the development of 
his children. In the correspondence now in the author's hands, 
there is ample evidence of this concern, which cast somewhat 
of a shadow on his sunset years. Another one of his letters 
to his son, one of many filled with sound advice which John 
Apley has considerately turned over to- the author, speaks of 
this new phase: 

Dear John : 

I hope that you will be coming back from the Border soon. 
I still cannot understand why the authorities were so incon- 
siderate as not to permit you to leave for your great-uncle's 
funeral. Our dear old confrere, Major Stanhope, whom I have 
always regarded as one of the most important figures in Boston, 
feels as I do. He was kind enough to write to the Adjutant- 
General in Washington and later to the Secretary of War ex- 
plaining why you should be granted a leave. There seems to 
have been some misunderstanding, but now it is too late to have 
it cleared up, I do wish though that you would write to 


Major Stanhope on some paper, better than the Y. M. C. A, 
stationery which you use in corresponding with me, thanking 
him for his trouble and signing yourself "Affectionately," 
which 1 think will be quite right under che circumstances as 
Major Stanhope is one of the executors for your great-uncle's 

1 hope very much that you will return soon as you are needed 
here much more than in Texab, especially as there seems no 
prospect of our being involved with the Mexicans. From many 
things 1 hear, there is danger of your falling in with a fast 
set. Although 1 rely on your good sense, there are reports 
here of heavy gambling and drinking and worse in El Paso. 
You must not let yourself be led to any lengths which you 
may regret by trying to be a "good fellow." 1 hope that 1 am as 
broad-minded as others, and you have always seen a decanter 
of wine on my table. 

I am not as concerned with wine as I am with women, but 
surely your attitude on this subject is the same as mine. Per- 
haps 1 should have spoken to you before about some of the 
dangers, although 1 believe that silence is enough. There is 
only one thing for you to remember: that someday you will 
meet the girl that you will wish to marry. You will feel sorry 
if you cannot tell her truthfully about your past. 1 know that 
1 felt so with your own mother. When you get home we must 
have a long quiet talk about this. In the meanwhile I need not 
tell you to remember that you are a gentleman and one that 
has the responsibility of setting an example to others. You 
have in my opinion been away too long from Boston, much 
longer than 1 ever have even on my trips to Europe. I do not 
think that this is a good thing, but I like to feel that you are 
with a Boston battery and that in the evenings you gather in 
your tents and talk about home and about the Club. That re- 
minds me that your name will soon be passed on for the 


Province Club. Some of your friends at my suggestion are also 
doing what they can for you at the Berkley Club. 1 think you 
might get a little more forward here if you were to write some- 
thing, say a paper on the social conditions in FJ Paso. 1 should 
be very pleased to have you read it as my guest at some meet- 
ing at Beacon Street* next winter, and if you have trouble with 
your facts, there is a very useful man in the History Depart- 
ment at Harvard who would be glad to help you to assemble 
them. He helped me on the occasion last week when 1 read an 
address on preparedness on the Boston Common. Although of 
course the ideas were my own, 1 did not have time to get the 
facts about the Ancient and Honourable Artillery myself. 

1 have been very busy here, rising at six in the morning, to 
prepare for my committee work before going to the office. 
There has been a great deal of trouble with the drains beneath 
the tennis court. Last week a skunk was caught beneath the 
piazza. I will leave it to you to imagine the condition of the 
front parlour. The sixteenth-century Apley blanket chest had 
to be opened and the handloom work had to be aired for a week. 
It was just as well that the chest was opened, as there were 
mice in it. 1 was obliged to spend an hour yesterday complain- 
ing to the company which is supposed to krcp the house rid ol 




Intimate Aspects 
In the Challenge of a Changing World 


One of the first things I want you to do when you get 
back, which we hear wilJ be soon, is to have a serious Jong 
talk with your sister Eleanor, who 1 feeJ may listen to your 
advice. Your mother is writing to you about this also, but, as 
you know, she has not our breadth of view. 

1 need not tell you to keep this matter entirely to yourself 
as any further talk might do Eleanor everlasting harm. Last 
week Eleanor left Hillcrest in the motor for the North Sta- 
tion to take the five o'clock train to visit her aunt in Nahant. 
She did not arrive there until eleven in the evening, and then 
not from the railroad station. When she did, it was by motor, 
accompanied by a man named Searing who she says is a 
friend of yours. According to her aunt, who is quite broad- 
minded about such matters, young Searing was actually un- 
steady when he helped Eleanor from the car and there was 
an appreciable odour of liquor on Eleanor's breath. It appears 
that these two went without chaperonage to a certain roadhouse 
on the Newburyport Turnpike, of which Eleanor says you 
have sometimes spoken. I have found after inquiry in certain 


quarters that this place is frequented by stenographers and 
worse. Under the circumstances I have been obliged to send 
for Searing here at the office and I have also spoken to his 
parents. I will do him the justice to say that he was contrite 
about the whole affair j and 1 believe, within limits, acted like 
a gentleman. He understands by now that any mention of 
this will militate seriously against your sister and has agieed 
to keep silent. It relieves me that they both assure me that 
they saw no one who might know them. Of course Searing 
cannot be received again at the house. Even Eleanor under- 
stands this. 

What worries me most is her attitude about the entire affair. 
She appears resentful toward me for the steps I have taken to 
the point that we have barely exchanged a word for two days. 
1 cannot understand how a child of mine, my own little girl 
who has had every advantage, could have done such a thing 
as this and afterwards have expressed no regrets. You and 
Eleanor both have everything. Your mother and I have striven 
to confront you with an example of a happy marriage. You 
have a congenial home and congenial friends. Eleanor can 
have the parlour for callers whenever she wishes, except when 
the Wednesday Night Club meets. 

When you get back, I think we must have some parties for 
Eleanor and perhaps even a dance at Beacon Street. I shall not 
write further. Family matters besides my other activities arc 
placing a very great burden on me. Sometimes I do not under- 
stand what is happening to either you or Eleanor. You know 
that I not only am your father, but wish to be your friend and 
companion. I hope that when you come back we can all do some 
things together if I can only find the time. . . . 

The above letter was shown to Eleanor Apley recently by 
the present writer, who felt a natural reluctance in including it 


even among such intimate pages as this memoir. That Eleanor 
Apley did not share his opinion is the reason for its inclusion, 
and her reply may surely be considered as characteristic of that 
generation, the reply of u a daughter of change" so strange to 
Apley's eyes. 

Why not use it if you want [she writes] ? The only reason 
why I should hesitate is because it dates me. You know I had 
nearly forgotten how completely changed things are. Poor 
Father he lived to see the era when girls went out un- 
chaperoned even after dark. I remember the whole occasion 
now a curiously Boston occasion, and one that 1 do not be- 
lieve could have happened anywhere else. Phil Searing was 
really a darling, although he now lives rather unattractively 
on Maryborough Street. We both of us wanted to see what 
sin was like, so we planned to go to that roadhouse. It was not 
inspiring. New Englanders hitting the high places are gen- 
erally not a gay party. There were booths, a dance floor, paper 
streamers, a piano, a lot of painted hussies, and traveling sales- 
men, but it was sin incarnate to Phil and me. We stayed there 
for two hours. I had one gin fizz, and Phil may have had 
more. Back in the car he asked if it would be all right to kiss 
me even if we were not engaged, and he did once, though we 
both felt rather guilty about it. It is rather pathetic, isn't it, in 
the light of the present methods of selection? I am glad that 
I had sense enough to realize that it did not amount to much 
when it was all over. 1 had already been out three years, but I 
do not believe that any girl in my Sewing Circle had ever gone 
to such a place or had gambled so recklessly with her reputa- 
tion. 1 should not have dared if I had not been rather unattrac- 
tive and had not always been getting stuck at dances. It was a 
sort of a revolt, you see. John and I had a good deal to revolt 
from, but 1 had more than John. Mother generally designed 


my dresses herself but then you know the Apleys. The only 
thing that made me feel badly was how keenly poor Father 
felt. In his eyes I was the "girl gone wrong." Nothing I ever 
did after that shocked him very much, because he always 
understood that I had bad blood in me, inherited from the 
Bosworths. But 1 don't mean to make fun of him really. Fa- 
ther was always sweet to me. He was always trying to set me 
on a pedestal, probably because he could not set Mother there, 
but it was his tradition with all women a rather horrible 
tradition. He was always trying to be friendly, but then he had 
so much on his mind. How could he be friendly at Pequod 
Island and at Sunday luncheons with roast beef and Yorkshire 
pudding and white ice cream? How could he be friendly when 
we had charades and parlor games? I remember him looking 
at me sometimes, wistfully, puzzled. You know he was really 
a splendid man. 

I remember what John said to me when he got back from the 
Border. That was really a great occasion when the Battery 
marched down Beacon Street and all the horses went slipping 
on the_ asphalt. John came into the parlor looking thin and 
brown. The parlor was just as it had been when Grandmama 
had arranged it all those curious knickknacks on the mantel- 
piece and the fire-screen of pressed ferns that Grandmama had 

"Hi, El," John had said, and he looked around to be sure 
that we were alone "so you didn't marry the British 

"No," I said, "but he tried to." 

"I have been hearing about you," he said. And he looked 
around the room again. It made me feel a little strange, be- 
cause he did not seem to belong there. 

"I had forgotten how the old place looked," he said. "El, 
we have to get out of this before it gets us too." 


I knew exactly what he meant. You would too if you had 
been John or me but then it doesn't matter, does it? 

This quotation, like so many others included in this volume 
needs but little comment. One of the strangest phenomena of 
the last two decades was the illogical desire of many of the 
younger generation to escape physically from Boston. We have 
witnessed daughters with an excellent position of their own, 
situated in circumstances which required no such exertion, liv- 
ing in small New York flats and working in department stores, 
in the position, even, of saleswomen, and even obeying aspira- 
tions to appear publicly upon the stage. Sons of families too 
well known to be mentioned have left Boston and an acceptable 
background for trips on tramp steamers, expeditions to the 
South Pole or banana plantations, and even for work as radio 
announcers in New York. What is the more unaccountable, 
these young people have left Boston under no compulsion and 
for no definite reason, unless to fulfill a relentless desire for 
change which was, on the whole, properly controlled in this 
writer's generation. We have seen that George Apley, himself, 
was once beset by this restiveness and that a definite sense of 
responsibility enabled him to overcome any such desire. That 
this same weakness should have been manifested in his chil- 
dren, although perhaps an axiom of inheritance, was none the 
less a cross for him to bear. 

Much of a parent's life in the course of all events is devoted 
to making a place for the children. If the children do not desire 
this place, something is obviously lacking in fulfillment. It 
was, however, Apley's great good fortune that his life was full 
enough and rich enough for him to face this disappointment in 
a measure philosophically. As for any normal duty which his 


children may have owed him, it remains for them, in this 
writer's opinion, to decide in their own consciences whether 
they have fulfilled this obligation of the Decalogue. It would 
be interesting, whatever their motives and justifications, to 
speculate whether their lives have been any happier or fuller 
than the lives of their parents. 

In conclusion we cannot refrain from adding that it is a 
tribute to the broad-mindedness of George Apley that he could 
sympathize with his own daughter's desire for change, when 
she elected at the time of her marriage some years later to join 
her husband in another section of the country instead of in- 
ducing him, as Apley himself suggested, to take up a lucrative 
and interesting literary position in the Boston offices of the 
Apley Mills. 

In some ways, my dear, I can understand your point of 
view [we find him writing on this occasion]. If it is not the 
same as mine, at least let me try to understand it, and let me 
tell you a secret: I once felt as you do myself. 

His reaction to his son's marriage when this event occurred 
was different for different reasons, but this matter, since it must 
be dealt with at all, will be reserved for brief mention in sub- 
sequent pages. It will be sufficient here to say that John Apley 
married a divorcee. 

The activities of George Apley when his country finally en- 
tered the World War are sufficiently well known and so much 
in common with the experiences of others who shared in that 
soul-purifying event as to need no great mention of them 
at length. The task of the present biographer has been to set 
the frame for the man, to set the stage on which he played his 


part, and to indicate certain forces and motivations which led 
to what was the final crisis in his career, a crisis which left him 
misunderstood by some of his best friends. It was a crisis as 
serious to his reputation as the stand which certain persons took, 
in more ruxnt years, out of conscience, in the well-known 
Sacco- Vanzetti Case. ( It may be said here, parenthetically, that 
in this issue Apley's position was eminently the right one 
that the two men were radicals who had been found guilty 
under the laws of Massachusetts, whose case was delayed solely 
through the efforts of fellow radicals and of emotionally un- 
balanced sentimentalists who had interested themselves in their 
defense. These two men, in Apley's opinion, had been allowed 
further an unusual privilege of having their case examined by 
^hree unprejudiced and eminent citizens whose probity was as 
well-known to Apley as to the entire Commonwealth. It 
seemed to Apley that justice should take its course, unimpeded 
by the parades, placards and denouncements of certain ele- 
ments whose increasing purpose has patently been to under- 
mine society as determined by our Constitution.) 

This parenthesis, however, brings us far afield. It is simply 
an example, one of many, that exhibits the basic soundness of 
the man in a period of crisis. Now, in this epoch of war, Boston 
was calling for men with the steadfast courage of their convic- 
tions j and it is natural to find Apley taking his place as leader, 
a leadership bringing the inevitable increase in stature which 
marked Apley for subsequent events. His home throughout the 
War was a haven for boys, regardless of their rank or previous 
background, who were about to embark for their service over- 
seas. His entertainment of the various military missions needs 
no mention in these pages. His heavy subscription to the Lib- 
erty Loan Campaign was a matter of duty rather than pride, 


as was his own cheerful acceptance of the hardship of the sugar- 
less days and the meatless days, which we so well remember. 
With the exception of his butler, a man in late middle age who 
was suffering from a complicated form of indigestion, Apley 
has pointed out that no one ate bacon in his house during the 
entire period of conflict. Apley was also one of the first to take 
the lead in planting lawn gardens, ordering his entire expanse 
of lawn at Hillcrest, as an example to others, to be plowed up 
for corn and potatoes, although there were many other fields 
available - y and this lawn, always a source of pride to his father 
and himself, although reseeded the day of the Armistice, has 
never recovered its former texture. In fact, standing on the 
piazza at Hillcrest to-day, one can still see the ghosts of fur- 
rows on that lawn memories of what Apley himself called 
afterwards "the brave days." 

The efforts of Apley, in another farseeing group, to prevent 
espionage and sabotage are a contribution of his which will not 
be forgotten. It was this same group which was to stand guard 
against radical activities during the first turbulent years of the 
Russian Revolution. It is true, as Apley was the first to admit, 
that such small efforts were only a part of every citizen's duty 
small sacrifices to be made cheerfully and without stint. 



Experiences of John Afley 
As Seen Through a Father's Eyes 

FIND Apley's wife writing to her father, a year 
after her mother's death : 

George is drilling with the Home Defense Corps to-night. 
He looks very handsome in his belt. 1 am very proud of 
George, and proud of Eleanor who is in the Home Motor 
Corps, but we are prouder still of John at the Front. There 
has been no letter from him for two weeks, which makes us 
sure that his Division has moved to the Front, exactly where 
George and I both want him. No one can say that our family 
are slackers. I hope that you are feeling much better. I shall 
call after the Red Cross Meeting to-morrow, I hope in time to 
see the doctor. George sends you his love. 

A single letter of Apley's may be enough to paint that van- 
ished scene, together with one taken at random from his letters 
to his son. The first is written to his friend Walker. 

Dear Mike: 

It is hell to be old in these days and to be able to do so little. 
I should be glad to be where John is and so would you. In 
some sense it would allow me to vindicate myself. This has 


been denied us and instead we find ourselves with the women 
and children indulging in the trivalities of meatless days and 
gasolene-less Sundays. The spirit of everyone here is very high 
as indeed it should be with our sons at the Front. The horrible 
news of the Germans' break-through toward Paris makes us 
all pray that we have not joined our allies too late and that we 
may still be true to the spirit of Lafayette. In the meanwhile 
there is nothing to do but to wait for news. 

Yet no matter what happens, I shall be able to hold my 
head high, I think, because John is with the Second Division 
at the Front. He may have taken the matter lightly. He said 
he was going because everyone was going, which of course was 
only a gay way of hiding his real convictions. At any rate he 
went among the first as cheerfully as he might have gone to 
breakfast and certainly will be in the forefront of the battle. 
Again, I say, 1 wish you and I were with him. We often used 
to speak about going to war, at the Club. There are not many 
men of my age to-day who can be as proud as I, because John 
is at the Front. 

In a way, I think, I am making as great a sacrifice as he, 
for 1 cannot envisage life without him. Everything I have done 
would amount to nothing then. As for him, if he dies on the 
Field of Honour, I say to you frankly, for such is my state of 
mind, that he may be saving himself a good deal of trouble, 
a good deal of disillusion, a good deal of difficulty with per- 
sonalities. He will have died in the full vigour of his strength, 
and that is something. Yet, of course, he must come back. I 
cannot comfort myself with any other thought. I have tried to 
think what it is like out there, but none of us can know. . . . 

Dear John: 

Your letter from the Base Hospital has reached us and has 
allayed all the fears that have haunted us since you were 


reported wounded in action. If the leg wound is coming on as 
you say, the scar will be a badge of honour for you always and 
one which I am personally sorry 1 do not bear. 1 know without 
your telling me that you received that piece of shrapnel doing 
your duty and leading your men as you should. In doing so, 
you have brought honour to the family. There are not many 
families in Boston who have a wounded son. 

I wish that your Uncle William and that your Uncle Ho- 
ratio Brent and that your two grandfathers were alive to hear 
of it. There was a service for you at church last Wednesday 
afternoon. When we received your letter, 1 read it to the in- 
servants and the out-servants at Hillcrest assembled on the 
lawn, because they have known you always and are all fond 
of you. They join their congratulations with mine. I have 
cabled the Embassy to see if there is anything you need and of 
course they have been in touch with you. 

Everything here is going capitally. We are only waiting for 
our boy to come back. When you do, we shall get out of this 
and try to have other plans. You would not know the place 
now; the lawn is full of potatoes, and the Common is full of 
soldiers. A toast was offered to you at the Monday lunch of 
the Province Club. God bless you, dear John, and come home 
soon. . . . 

It was Apley's belief to the day of his death, a belief shared 
by many others including this writer, that the Allied Forces, 
when the tide turned so gloriously in the early autumn of 1 9 1 8, 
bailed to make the most of their opportunities. And those op- 
portunities were great, with the German Army battered to its 
knees and with the scions of a Prussian autocracy hastening for 
shelter to the arms of neutral nations. The way was clear to 
Berlin and the way was clear also for a decisive defeat which 
would have eliminated the German nation as a world menace 


for many years to come. Subsequent events prove only too elo- 
quently the justice of Apley's belief. That this opportunity was 
not grasped, in his opinion was due almost entirely to the weak 
and temporizing policy of the Administration at Washington 
with the pronouncement of its "Fourteen Points" and of 
"Peace without Victory." It was due to Apley's vigor that sev- 
eral petitions were circulated in an effort to stem this wave of 

"Now is not the time to stop," we find him writing in one of 
his numerous letters to the Boston Evening Transcript, letters 
of such cogency and force that they were frequently reprinted 
next morning in the Boston Herald; and incidentally, these 
letters were also made available in pamphlet form. He con- 

Now that we have so tardily grasped the sword, we cannot, 
we must not, let it fall supinely from our hands for reasons of 
mercy to a foe which has shown no mercy. We must strengthen 
our consciousness of justice with a memory of the women and 
children who have perished at the hands of a rapacious mili- 
taristic nation. The Mad Dog of Europe must be chained. 
After this is done, there will be ample time for pity. We must 
not forget our debt to the steadfastness of England and the 
chivalry of France that have stood for years, protecting us from 
something worse than death while we have waxed fat on 
profits. What will it profit America if she loses her soul? Can 
we face the memories of our dead, who have given their lives 
in a war to end war upon the shell-pocked fields of Chateau- 
Thierry, St. Mihiel and in the shrapnel-swept thickets of the 
Argonne? If we do not now lift the burden from the weary 
shoulders of our brave Allies, if we do not, how can we look 
our boys in the face when they come back from Over There? 


What explanation can we give our sons, who have shed their 
blood in France, or to our boys training here in camp who have 
struggled through a winter of influenza and who are now 
straining to join their more fortunate comrades in the front 
lines? What shall we say to them if we do not let them go? 

The eloquence of this and other letters could not help but 
bring Apley before the public eye. These letters quite rightly 
earned the commendation of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, 
under whose banner Apley fought in the next year against that 
instrument, the League of Nations. It is not generally known 
that in the autumn of 1918 after President Wilson made his 
demagogic plea for a Democratic congress, that many of 
Apley's friends and well-wishers suggested that he run as a Re- 
publican for the national body. He refused only on the grounds 
that he would be more useful at home, where he better under- 
stood the situation. There was need then, indeed, for right- 
thinking men at home. 

Even in the crisis of conflict there were certain subversive 
elements in Boston, which after the example set by Washing- 
ton were becoming vocal. Apley like many others saw this 
danger. His well-known letter to the Board of Governors of 
the Province Club indicates the stand which he took in public 
and in private. 


While seated upon the brick terrace yesterday after luncheon, 
I was amazed to hear certain members of the Province Club, 
whose names 1 shall gladly furnish should 1 be called before 
your Board, advocating a Peace without Victory. In my hum- 
ble opinion every member of the Province Club must bear in 
mind that this nation is in a state of War, and that our Divi- 


sions are moving forward against a demoralized enemy. At such 
a time any talk of peace is patently pro-German, and we who 
admire the unanimity of the Province Club should surely not 
tolerate it. It is my suggestion that these members be called 
before your Board and suitably admonished. 

There is no answer to this letter extant in Apley's files. 

When the terms of the Armistice were finally announced, 
these seemed to Apley, in a measure, a vindication of his efforts, 
although perhaps a partial vindication. It had been his hope, 
shared by so many others, that there might be peace after the 
war was over instead of the trying times that followed. It was 
his hope that time might be allowed him for family affairs, 
which badly needed his attention, but instead he was enmeshed 
in an increasing complication of public and semi-public activi- 
ties. His name and his presence rightly enough were in demand 
by various civic organizations, for dinners and committees of 
welcome. His efforts in finding work for the boys who were 
returning home need no mention here, and his increased con- 
tributions to various social agencies are something for which he 
would desire to take no credit, since those sacrifices were shared 
by nearly everyone' in New England. 

For the first time since the hoards of insect pests have in- 
vaded us [he writes to his friend Walker] the elms at Hillcrest 
will not have their dormant oil spray. The money will go where 
it is needed more to the Fourth Liberty Loan. I am arrang- 
ing so that everyone who works for me will contribute and we 
are also seeing that every worker at Apley Mills will be assisted 
in continuing his contributions. This is a time for giving with- 
out stint, and no time for saving income to be added to princi- 
pal. Everyone must be encouraged in small forms of thrift for 


Yet in spite of the financial and physical strain under which 
he was laboring, there is a spirit of elation in Apley's letters at 
this period born naturally from a sense of vindication. 

It really seems [he writes to Walker] as though the people 
who are fitted by education and tradition are taking the lead 
again in civic affairs j even the professional politicians seem to 
be turning to them for advice. This is a very hopeful sign. At 
this time, when we are facing great changes, we must be sure 
that all of them are for the better. We must combat the spirit of 
restiveness here in Boston. 

Those changes to the world which we once knew, the last of 
which are not yet in sight those changes, which began so 
subtly in the first decade of the century, were moving faster, 
and Apley's insight perceived them. In fact the following let- 
ter to his son, John, is in a sense prophetic: 

Dear John: 

I hope by now that you will be out of the Convalescent Hos- 
pital at Aix. Now that the War is over, I cannot see what delays 
you, especially since I have ascertained that arrangements can 
be made through Washington for your return at any time that 
your health permits j and from your letters, both your mother 
and I gather that your health is very good. Now that you are 
able to walk with a cane, surely you can stand an ocean voyage. 
You speak of getting some sort of job at the Peace Conference j 
surely you have done enough for your country. I have every 
sympathy with your desire for a period of relaxation, but every 
opportunity for a good time can be afforded to you here where 
your family and friends long to see you. I have agreed with 
you that you should see something of France "besides corpses 
and roofless buildings," as you so trenchantly put it. For me 


France has always been my mistress, but she is ample enough 
for us both to share the same love. We must have long talks 
about her when you come home. 

1 am glad that the young nurses at Aix are so agreeable. We 
never can thank them enough for what they have done for us, 
but I only hope that they are not too agreeable. There are times, 
if a man is in a weakened condition, when his loneliness and 
his natural sense of gratitude overcome saner dictates. We 
have already had one example in the family, but 1 know that 
I need not say any more to a son of mine. Your relations with 
these girls, of course, are all in a spirit of comradeship and 
friendship. Your mother and 1 are both anxious to have Miss 
Jelke, who has been giving you leg exercises, at Hillcrest for 
some weekend. When you get back here, there are plenty of 
hearts in Boston for you to break. Evelyn Newcomb was asking 
for you only yesterday. She is one of the girls from the Vincent 
Club who has been serving doughnuts and coffee at the Boston 
Common Canteen and working in the evenings at the Radio 
Boys' Social Hour. She looks very pretty in her uniform. 

There is a rather amusing thing about one of the girls whom 
you must remember, because 1 have seen you dancing with her 
for long periods at the Somerset Dot Wills. In the last 
two years she has grown quite surprisingly attractive, perhaps 
because of the new styles in dress which seem to have certain 
advantages. During the War, she was on the Committee which 
made mobilization plans to move the virgins inland in case of 
an enemy invasion. The idea amused me at the time, as I know 
it will you, especially as I am told at the Berkley Club that 
you have a Rabelaisian sense of numor. There have been many 
amusing things about the War which you and I must talk 
about over cigars, 

There have been many serious things also, and seriously 
you are needed at home. 


I think you will be as surprised as I am at certain changes 
when you get back. Firstly, there is a strange lack of reticence 
in the younger generation which extends to your contempo- 
raries. In spite of the imminence of Prohibition, which is a 
deplorable blow to the rights of the individual, there seems to 
be a wave of drinking, and it is even said that young girls whom 
we both know have been seen to take too much. One cocktail 
before dinner on a gay occasion is well enough $ I do not like 
to see your sister Eleanor taking two, although I must say she 
seems to show no effects. Worse than this, certain people who 
should be setting an example are letting things slide very 

I am much afraid that the War has not helped morals be- 
tween the sexes. I could tell you a good deal that would sur- 
prise you, but I have never been a gossip. Worse than this, 
there is a wave of discontent among the working classes, al- 
though they have never been so exorbitantly paid. Instead of 
saving their money, they are attending motion-picture theatres 
and their women are buying silk stockings and even fur coats. 
The craze for purchasing automobiles which they cannot afford 
to run is driving many into debt, and several families in Apley 
Falls are doing without wholesome nourishment in order to 
own a car. There is no doubt that Russian agents are at work 
in the building trades and even on our railroads. Everywhere 
strikes are breaking out. I am afraid that we are going to have 
serious times. . . . 

This concern with the Red Menace was to occupy much of 
Apley's attention during the next years, and he was not alone 
in seeing the threat. Subsequently he was active in endeavoring 
to curb the utterances of certain visionaries in Harvard Univer- 
sity whose names are too familiar to require specific mention. 
At this time, however, we find much of his attention devoted 


to the affairs of his son, who had returned from France during 
the summer of 1919 and who resumed his work at the Harvard 
Law School that same autumn. Like so many events in this life 
which have been anticipated with the greatest zest, there is 
frequently a sense of disappointment in the final actuality. It 
is regrettable that such disappointment should have appeared 
in Apley's relationship with his son, although this is shown 
only in the letters to his old friend, Walker. 



The Problem of a Son 
Who Has Been Too Long away from Boston 

LEY writes: 

1 cannot understand why it is that the War seems to have 
drawn John and me apart. 1 have tried again and again to 
gather some of the firsthand impressions which he may have 
had in battle. I have tried to induce him at one of the men's 
dinners which I gave for him on his return home, where only 
my oldest friends and of course his also were present, to speak 
about events in France. In spite of my encouragement he has 
exhibited a reticence which surprises me. I cannot get at him, 
for he appears to suffer from a species of shell-shock when 
subjects of which he should be proud are mentioned. On the 
other hand, he seems pleased enough to speak of certain re- 
unions in Paris which seem to have been held nearly always at 
a friend's house in the Rue du Bray, though, even about the 
happenings there, he is sometimes reticent. All in all 1 can 
gather from him only something of the lighter side of war 
which seemed to consist principally of dinners with young 
women in the Red Cross. Nevertheless, he seems to have 


learnt a great deal of French, and I wonder how he managed 
it. He is surprisingly proficient, considering that he did not 
serve with the French Army. You know that I am not a prude. 
If ever young men had a right to sow their wild oats within 
limits, our boys in France had, and yet John always seems to 
feel that I will criticize him. Thus I cannot really find what he 
has done at or behind the Front. Only the other evening I 
asked him what it all had taught him. His only answer was 
that it had taught him that he was lucky to be alive, and this 
does not seem to be very much. Both his mother and I have 
wanted to show our boy to our friends and we have urged him 
to wear his uniform with his wound stripe as is quite per- 
missible under regulations. He has never been willing to do 
this. It sometimes seems as though he were ashamed of the 

What worries me most are his criticisms about the places 
and the people among whom he must take up his life's portion, 
He is polite enough, but now and then he lets drop a word. 
Nothing that I am doing appears to interest him, not even the 
building of the high wall by the front drive at Hillcrest. He 
has gone with me to the Lunch Club and has been several times 
to the Province Club, but I cannot say that he seems to enter 
into the spirit of either place. 

When it was suggested that he sing in the Hallowe'en 
Chorus at the Berkley Club, an occasion where every good 
Berkteyite always does his part, he actually refused. I can 
attribute this only to the deep emotional upset which John 
must have experienced, since in many ways the War has seared 
his soul. No games or gayety seem to interest him, but his 
mother and I are making every effort to distract his attention 
by a series of dinners and by week-end parties where he can 
meet some really nice girls. Though he is always polite, I 
cannot see that he takes anv reai interest in any of them. Yet 


surely he must understand that it is time to settle down. He is 
often going to New York where I hope he looks you up, al- 
though 1 am afraid he does not. I have heard that he has been 
to luncheon there once with the editors of a magazine called 
the New Republic, but I have hesitated to speak to him about 
this. His whole attitude reminds me of the way he was during 
his early years at Groton. You know that he did not fit in there 
and he has never evinced a desire to return there for a week 
end. Nevertheless he got through Groton and I am sure that 
he will get through this phase as well. 

This lack of interest of his son's was changed momentarily by 
an event which shook not only Boston, but the entire nation. 
There is no occasion here to outline the circumstances leading 
to the Police Strike out of which emerged the national figure 
of Calvin Coolidge. Its effect, however, on both the Apleys, 
father and son, is of considerable importance. In those few days 
of mob rule and disruption Apley, himself, patrolled the 
streets and John Apley, at the head of some War Veterans, 
cleared a portion of Commonwealth Avenue of a mob. 

There can be no doubts any longer about John [Apley 
writes]. He has made a place for himself in Boston and that 
is one of the best things which has come out of this horrible 
situation, that and a knowledge that we have a strong man in 
the State House whose very name has a ring of reassurance. I 
am proud that 1 have such a son, although he only did his part 
with the sons of our other friends. He went into the thing as 
cheerfully as he might have gone to breakfast and I have been 
told that his suggestions were very valuable. Without any 
desire to boast, 1 know that John has the makings of a leader 
in him. He seems co me more and more like his great- 


On Apley himself the dangers inherent in this situation 
made a deep impression, for here once again he met at first hand 
the supineness, the corruption, and the inefficiencies of the local 
City Government. In a sense this occasion marks the begin- 
ning of the fight he waged a losing battle to stamp out 
this inefficiency; but before turning to this phase of Apley's 
life it is necessary to deal briefly with two disappointments 
which were as bitter as they were undeserved. 

In June of 1 92 1 , J ohn Apley on a visit to New York accepted 
employment in a downtown law firm and categorically refused 
to take the place that had been reserved for him in the Boston 
firm of Apley and Reid. It need not be stated that this decision 
of the son was a disappointment to the father, and it was ob- 
viously more than that. It brought to George Apley a realiza 
tion of many of the fears that he had envisaged at the prospect 
of John Apley's death in France; and the circumstance, it is 
needless to say, would not be mentioned in these pages except 
for the son's own explicit request; and so George Apley's 
letter to him is published here only at John Apley J s suggestion. 

Dear John: 

I have not answered your letter for two days because I have 
been ill in bed, one of the first times that I have been ill in 
many years. Your letter came just as I was dressing in prepara- 
tion to read a paper on "War Days Past and Present" before 
my dinner club. I got through my paper well enough, but 
something at the dinner so disagreed with me that I have been 
under doctor's care ever since. I am up and about now, but your 
letter has taken something out of life I do not know just 
what. I do know that it has robbed me of what I had hoped 
for most in life, the companionship of a son, and this was 
something that was very dear to me, how dear, I am afraid I 


have never shown you. Now that you have gone to New York, 
I know that I shall never have it, I might beg you to alter your 
decision, but I will not, for 1 suppose that you have given the 
matter very careful attention. You have surely seen whar there 
was here for you. It would have been, I think, a fuller and 
a better life where your traditions lie than you can ever unu 
elsewhere. 1 cannot think that what your mother and I have 
tried to do for you has gone for nothing. I cannot think that 
you do not love this place as 1 love it. It is impossible for me to 
believe that you can fit anywhere else. I am so sure of it that I 
have a hope that in a year or two you will reconsider. If you 
do not, who will look after Hillcrest when 1 am gone? I am 
older than you and the older 1 grow the more convinced I am 
that there must be some sort of continuity in this changing 
world, something to which one must hold fast. It is something 
too precious to be dropped lightly. It is something which we 
have here. 

I know you have laughed at many people and at many 
customs, as 1 have in my time, but I hope that you have laughed 
kindly as I have. At any rate, when the jest is over, continuity 
remains. You will find, as I have, a solace in background and 
tradition. It will always be waiting for you here. 

It may be the fault of the times that our great figures have 
left us. 1 remember many of them in my own youth and boy- 
hood, such as Dr. Holmes and Mr. Whittier. The memories of 
others were still fresh, of our historians, of Emerson, of 
Thoreau, of Margaret Fuller. 1 have heard Dr. Hale preach j 
I have heard the sermons of Phillips Brooks. Their words here 
are not entirely stilled, and I have hoped, I know wrongly 
now, that you would hear an echo of them. I am sorry that 
you have not heard. Instead you say that Boston has become 
a backwater in which the greatest activity is the conserving of 
wealth and the raking of literary ash heaps. I can understand in 


some sense what you mean. You are young as I was once. You 
wish to be in the tide of change. I wished it also once, but 
the time will come when you will long for continuity and 
peace. 1 shall do my best to see thar you will get it, or at any 
rate that your children will get it. 

In the meanwhile I am glad that I huve other interests. 
These seem vital and worth while to me, if they do not to you. 
I wish to make the place where I am living better, 1 wish to 
try in my poor way to carry out what others have planned. If 
you have left me, I must do this alone arid wish you God speed, 
but I hope you will come back. 

Your mother is writing you also. I am afraid it will be an 
angry letter, as she is very deeply shocked. 1 think the least 
that you can do is to promise her that you will come up to 
Pequod Island for a month each summer, no matter what 
happens. For the rest you must remember that your mother 
has a very strong will and is so little used to having her wishes 
disregarded that she may say many things that she does not ac- 
tually mean. The same will be true with your Aunt Amelia, 
who has always had a great liking for you. What the rest of the 
family will think, I do not like to conjecture. I can only prom- 
ise to do my best for you here and to try to take your part. I am 
already saying, which 1 hope is true, that your position in New 
York is a very important one, which will lead you eventually to 
Washington and possibly into international law. If this is so, 
many people will understand more readily why you are leav- 
ing us. 

Would it not be possible for you to take some place in the 
diplomatic service? Such a step as that would be completely 
understood. . . . 

After this decision of John Apley's, an incomprehensible one 
to many of his family and to his friends, George Apley did not 


cease his correspondence with his son as might quite reasonably 
have been expected, for Apley's instinctive flair for tolerance 
and for good sportsmanship was such as not to permit any such 
narrow attitude of resentment to cross his mind. Once a week 
for many years, except for such time as John Apley was in 
Boston, George Apley wrote his son a letter. As one runs to-day 
through this rich store of manuscript, which brings up a thou- 
sand vivid memories of events and personalities, one cannot 
escape a certain wistfulness on the part of the writer and even 
an understanding of his son's motives not shared by others. 
Here one finds him painting a picture of home, in colors cal- 
culated to rouse a desire in his son to return to it. Here again, 
with that subtle contradiction which to many was a lovable 
part of Apley's character, the father deliberately seems to lay 
stress on amusing eccentricities of his environment. But through 
all of this correspondence is a thread of longing of a father's 
natural and never-to-be-attained desire to share in his son's 
alien interest. 

I wish you could be here with me to-night [he writes on one 
occasion]. Your mother and I have just returned from hearing 
that fine young Englishman, Philip Gibbs, speak out his mind 
in Symphony Hall to everyone here in Boston who really 
matters. Your mother has gone to bed, I think emotionally ex- 
hausted, and it is one of the first times that I have ever known 
her to be tired. Have you heard that slim, pale young man 
speak? He seemed hardly more than a boy on the platform, 
although so impeccably and correctly dressed, and yet like 
all of his generation, a man. Truly nothing in the world is quite 
so fine as ?n English gentleman j there is a politeness, an air 
and an esprit which cannot but make us all a little bit ashamed. 
Believe me, he made us all very much ashamed to-night, for 


he spoke without mincing words of what we owe to England, to 
England which has borne the real brunt of saving civilization 
for posterity. He spoke modestly, in a repressed voice, as a 
good sportsman who has "carried on" through thick and thin, 
of the burden which is borne by our former Mother Country 
and of the indissoluble ties which bind every branch of the 
Anglo-Saxon race. I was especially asked to meet him after- 
wards for a quiet little supper with half a dozen others, but 
frankly I was too ashamed to meet him. 1 was too ashamed 
after he had shown us so politely but clearly the crass commer- 
cial policy of our nation toward England. I am ashamed to 
think that we are demanding in full a payment of a war debt 
by England, as though money mattered compared to the 
British lives which have been spent in our defense. Yes, I am 
thoroughly and bitterly humiliated; I feel that we are taking 
advantage of England's weakness to build up our navy beyond 
her strength when England's very life depends on ruling the 
seas. I am having at my own expense a number of copies of his 
address printed in pamphlet form, and I shall send you several 
hundred for distribution among your friends, who must feeL 
as 1 am sure you do, the inherent justice of England's cause. 

1 repeat, I wish you were here to-night, as I sit looking 
across the Charles River Basin, so that we might talk of the 
lecture over one of S. S. Pierce's new brand of cigars, and 
perhaps have a touch of the old Madeira. There are still a few 
bottles in the cellar waiting for you, John, though I am afraid 
the increasing motor traffic on Beacon Street has shaken them 
a bit. There is a fine breeze whipping down the river which 
makes the windows rattle and I can see the lights of the Massa- 
chusetts Avenue Bridge and the lights of Technology twin- 
kling through the black. It is rather beautiful, even in spite of 
the hideous interpolation of two electric signs which the Basin 
Protective Society, of which I am chairman, is striving to have 


taken down. It all makes me feel very snug here inside the 
library when I turn and look at the tooled bindings of your 
grandfather's Dickens, Thackeray, and of my own beloved 
mystic radical Thoreau. You must remember to have lanolin 
put on those bindings once a month after I am gone. As I say, 
it makes me very comfortable now thatI sit here alone, with 
your mother safe in bed. I do not know where Eleanor is to- 
night, but I shall when she comes in, for I always sit up for 
her. After all there is nothing like a good cigar and good books, 
and we have both of these in Boston. 

Dear John: 

We have been having a great deal of difficulty here this 
week. Young Balch from Balch, Balch, and Steffins, whose 
grandfather made so many additions to Hilkrest, has been 
here making plans. There can be no longer any dodging of 
the fact that the roof of the conservatory is too small for your 
mother's rubber tree. You know that she sets a great store by 
it, as indeed I begin to, since it has been with us so long. When 
your mother brought it to the house when we were married, 
I felt toward it somewhat as Napoleon must have reacted 
toward Josephine's little dog when the latter bit him. As you 
know the tree was given to your mother when she was six 
years old and ever since then she has tended it herself. Once it 
was possible to jest about this tree, but now it is not. It is a 
family tree. Professor Sargent at the Arboretum tells me that 
it is certainly the oldest rubber tree in New England. Your 
mother will not think of cutting the branches back. The con- 
servatory is being enlarged. 

Your great-great-grandfather's silver can has gone on its 
annual visit to Park Street for overhauling. Old Seldon, there, 
has again taken up the question of removing the dent. I still 
prefer to have it remain. You may do what you like when 
you get it 


Of a morning the same people start out for State Street. 
1 dp not need a watch, when I see Mr. Bolles appear on his 
stoop with his umbrella. One of the elms near the Civil War 
Monument on the Common has lost a limb a limb, not a 
.leg. I am not such a prude as you think, John. . . . 




Conservative Comments upon 
Unfamiliar Environments and Ideas 


Sometime before long, if I can ever get my affairs 
straightened out here so that I can once have a few days' breath- 
ing spell, I wish to come down to see you in New York. Now 
that i come to think of it it has been a good many years since 
I have had the time to travel so far. I shall not think of 
troubling you in your flat (I dislike the more modern name 
"apartment") but 1 shall ask you to get me a quiet room and 
bath at the Belmont, where no doubt the management remem- 
bers me. When I come 1 want you to take me to some of the 
new plays, and please don't feel that I shall be shocked by 
them. Your father can stand a good deal, John, and he has 
heard most of the simple Anglo-Saxon monosyllables. Never- 
theless 1 should like to hear for myself whether the one- 
lyllable word for prostitute is spoken out loud in one of these 
productions. I have been told that this is so, but an old man 
must be convinced to believe it. I also want to see that very 
strong play called "What Price Glory" ; F should also like to 
tee the musical comedy in which young Chickering appears as 
* chorus man. His father will appreciate it if I go. 


My work in many ways has kept me out of touch with 
many changes of which I hear. Fortunately I do not think they 
are very apparent among us, although I hear some of the 
younger men speak of them now and then at teatime at the 
Berkley Club. Is it true in New York and in other cities 
farther south such as Philadelphia and Baltimore that young 
debutantes practise promiscuously what is known as "petting" 
or "necking"? Eleanor is evasive on the subject. I should like 
to know what "necking" and "petting" mean. I have also 
heard it said that boys and girls sit alone in automobiles and 
drink from pocket flasks. As a matter of fact one young couple 
was expelled from the Mulberry Club last summer for doing 
that very thing. These practices surely cannot be prevalent 
among people whom you and I know. 

I should also like to have you take me to one of these 
"speak-easies" where liquor is dispensed against the law, as I 
take a very deep interest in these. Anything that can be done, 
even at the expense of possible arrest and disgrace which 
may demonstrate a citizen's disapproval of a law which flouts 
the rights of the individual, is something in which your father 
will gladly cooperate. In short I want to see the town and 
even paint it red a little. We can certainly have a good dinner 
together at the Century Club. . . . 

Dear John: 

There is no doubt that Eleanor had a very good time on 
her visit with you in New York. Your mother and I have both 
commented on her cheerfulness since she has returned, in spite 
of her seeming rather pale and tired. There is only one thing 
which actually disturbs me about her visit. I know you will 
understand me and not take it amiss when I tell you of it, since 
it means that you have been away so long that you have for- 
gotten that New York girls, whose parents doubtless have 


their own good reasons for permitting them, can do certain 
things and still escape the censure which a girl in Eleanor's 
position cannot. Last night while Hopkins Balch and your 
cousin Nate Hancock were here at a little dinner which your 
mother gave for Eleanor, Eleanor dropped the remark quite 
casually that you had taken her to dine at one of these "speak- 
easies." Afterwards in the library over the cigars, I asked both 
of the boys not to mention it, and I think 1 may rely on their 
sense of chivalry, as they are both gentlemen. Your mother did 
the same with the girls in the parlour, who also promised, 
though 1 fear there may be trouble there, for women will 
talk. Nevertheless 1 do not feel that any very lasting harm 
has been done. In trying honestly to give Eleanor a u good 
time," you have simply forgotten how such an escapade may 
strike us old "fogies" up here. 1 know that 1 need not say 
any more about it. 

My back is quite stiff from curling this afternoon at the 
Country Club. J did not wish to curl to-day, but being the 
Chairman of the Curlfng Committee of course I had to show 
myself. The cellar here was flooded last week, inexplicably 
so. Youfig Balch has been very thoughtful about it and has been 
down in the cellar every evening measuring the water with 
Eleanor's help. Their last advice is that it will not reach the 

1 am pleased to hear that you are going about so much, as is 
quite right for one of your age and your position. I do not 
know why you should speak apologetically about lunching 
with the literary set at the Algonquin Hotel, since nothing 
which you have told me for months has pleased me more. I 
only wish that your dear grandmother were alive to hear of it. 
She always had a soft spot in her heart for the scriveners; 
and now that Boston has passed the torch of creative literature 
to New York, it is only natural that one of our family should 


be a member of the group. I hope your contact with these minds 
will encourage you to write something yourself. You know 
very well that even a pamphlet of a few pages written by you 
would give all of your family and your old friends here the 
greatest pleasure. What good talks you must have around the 
Algonquin Table! It is kind of you to tell me that your new 
friends are all anxious to meet me and wish me to go with 
you to the Algonquin when 1 visit you in New York, but for 
the life of me I cannot see why you think I would not enjoy it. 
1 want you to send me by the next mail a parcel of their books, 
some of which 1 understand are banned by our Save Boston 
Committee. You must get over this absurd idea that I am a 
prude. You have certainly heard me tell stories at the Club 
at the last dinner in February which show that I am not, and 
even the undergraduates enjoyed them. As a matter of fact 
1 think you and 1 were both perhaps a bit on our beam ends 
that night, but then that is what a Club dinner is for, isn't it? 
And they only come once a year, and your mother was visiting 
your aunt at Pachogue Neck. . , . 

Dear John: 

I am still a little bewildered by my trip to New York, but 
not so bewildered that 1 cannot thank you for it. To me it was 
an amazing experience, amazing. 

You need not be afraid that 1 told much about it to your 
mother. It was very thoughtful of you to give me the cata- 
logues of the chief picture exhibitions. 1 read them coming 
home on the train. I still cannot imagine why you bought me 
that seat in the parlour car. It had never occurred to me that 
you ever travelled that way and certainly I never have, and 
I still consider it a useless waste of money, although of course 
there are a few thousand shares of Pullman stock in the family 
portfolio. At the end of the trip I was able to make your mother 


feel that we had spent a great deal of time in the galleries and 
had seen the worth-while things. 

For the rest, frankly, my impressions are chaotic, and no 
doubt the world has moved beyond me. I know now that it 
is a mad world, but I hold to the belief that New York is not 
an American city. We have our Irish and you your Jews, and 
both of them are crosses to bear. Out of habit I am afraid that 
I prefer South Boston. I shall tell you in more detail in an- 
other letter how much I enjoyed it because I did, even the 
grass skirt dance at that Negro night club. How intelligent 
the coloured people are, and how physical! Yet now that it is 
over and I have been to count the crocuses on the lawn at Hill- 
crest and to walk with Mrs. Goodrich through the Blue Hill 
woods where our first summer visitors are returning from the 
South, I know that New York is not meant for me. It was 
never meant for me, and I am happy where I am. There is no 
more beautiful approach to the city than our Fen way j no city 
can boast of a Museum like dear Mrs. Jack Gardner's, and 
after all our Symphony Orchestra can show New York 
"plenty" as you would doubtless put it. ... 

Dear John: 

I think I spoke to you the last time I saw you about Hopkins 
Balch and about the very obvious attentions he has been paying 
to Eleanor. I also asked you to say nothing to Eleanor about 
it nor to anyone else, as you know how important it is to allow 
nothing to disturb such a thing in its initial stages. For our 
own parts, your mother and 1 have made every effort to be as 
casual and natural as possible in spite of our deep interest and 
in spite of our natural desire to know how each detail of this 
little affair has been progressing. 

I need not tell you about Hopkins Balch because you know 
him as well as I know his father. Our families have always been 


congenial and think the same way about nearly all important 
matters. When that damnable effort was made by the Park 
Commissioner to have a children's merry-go-round installed 
near the Public Garden Pond, Hopkins was a great help to 
me, and I have been distinctly in favour of him ever since. 
He may not be as comfortably off as Eleanor, but there are 
times, and this is an excellent example, when it is not neces- 
sary to be worldly. Hopkins really has a great artistic flair. 
The time ma}' very well come when he will be a second Rich 
ardson. When you are here next, I want you to see for your- 
self the group of buildings which he has made for the Play 
Day Pre-School in Cambridge. To my mind they are a very 
pretty little group. 

I do not want you to feel, simply because I like Hopkins* 
buildings, that I am wholly in favour of these novej methods 
of education, which have cropped up hereabouts, together with 
all the other new ideas which we are endeavouring to assimi- 
late. Nevertheless, I am not narrow-minded about them and 
they furnish an interesting topic for casual dinner-table con- 
versation. I personally believe that there must be some very 
reaJ thought behind them because Mrs. Goodrich is deeply in- 
terested in this whole new modern movement. She has pointed 
out the remarkable results it has had on some of the offspring 
of your early married contemporaries. 

I have heard you comment on the behaviour of Tom and 
Anstis OswelPs little daughter, Lucretia, Mrs. Goodrich^ 
grandniece. The child, as you will remember, has never eaten 
her cereal and has been sei?_ed with regular fits of hysterics at 
bedtime. For a long while it seemed as though the unfortunate 
mental weakness of the Oswell branch was cropping out again 
even unto the seventh generation. However, now that Lucretia 
has been under the care of Miss Fox at the Play Day School, 
her entire attitude has changed. She has developed what is 


called by modern educators "group consciousness." Mrs. Good- 
rich, herself, took me to see Lucretia take a leading part in the 
Thanksgiving pageant in which both the parents and the pupils 
of the Play Day School cooperate. Lucretia's father, after con- 
siderable urging, consented to be Miles Standish and Lucre- 
tia was one of the Indians who gave the Pilgrims turkeys. The 
Project Class of the school had made the turkeys themselves 
out of floor mops and feather dusters. Lucretia is also being 
taught responsibility by having the sole care of a mother guinea 
pig with six young ones. Miss Fox says that nothing should be 
done for several years, except indirectly, about teaching Lu- 
cretia to read and to write. The surprising thing about all this 
is that Lucretia now eats her cereal regularly and her screaming 
fits have diminished to one a week. 

I know that you will laugh at all this, John, and I am in- 
clined to laugh at it myself, but one must have a tolerant point 
of view in these days; one must try to see the constructive good 
in everything. I wonder if it would not have been the making 
of my poor sister, Jane, who now must have three nurses, if she 
had gone to such a school. I wonder if there is not something 
in all this modern trend. I try to think that there is, even 
though I instinctively shy away from most of it. ... 

Dear John: 

At a small dinner last night, which your mother and I gave 
for Eleanor, your sister suddenly began discussing psychology. 
To my amazement, she seems to have been spending a great 
deal of time in the Athenaeum lately reading the works of a 
certain doctor named Sigmund Freud. Have you ever heard 
of this man? I believe I recall overhearing some of your 
friends mention his name in New York. I am writing by this 
same mail to the Trustees of the Athenaeum asking that all 
works by Freud be out into the Locked Room. They are cer- 


tainly too strong for public consumption and certainly not the 
books which an Athenaeum Proprietor wishes to have exposed 
for an unmarried girl's perusal. 

The effect which this man Freud has had upon Eleanor has 
upset your mother very greatly. Neither of us had ever heard 
sex mentioned before across a dinner table. I could see that 
Hopkins Balch, who was present, was distressed by Eleanor's 
speaking of certain things about which even men in a library 
are customarily reticent, and 1 could feel, with a certain amount 
of justice, that his distress was a direct reflection upon me. 
Eleanor told us that the entire mainspring of civilization is the 
desire of mankind to reproduce. She says that sex underlies all 
art and all philosophy. She then said that a frank understand- 
ing of sex would change a great many individuals in Boston, 
whose names she mentioned. Before the subject could be 
changed, she added that there is a distinct sexual antagonism 
between men and women here, which is why both sexes enjoy 
withdrawing into segregated groups. She then said that a great 
many women who have been married for years mentioning 
their names have what she calls the Outraged Virgin Com- 

Now you have more influence with Eleanor than we have, 
John. I wish when you get this letter you would ask her down 
to New York, or better come up here and speak to her sensibly. 
This letter is, of course, completely confidential as mart to man 
and it might be just as well if you would burn it. 

This disposition to throw all reticence to the wind, to speak 
frankly of things which had better not be mentioned, may be all 
right in a way. Certainly it seems hard these days to find a 
good clean novel, so hard that 1 have given up reading any but 
the works of Conrad and Archibald Marshall. At any rate this 
sort of thing is distinctly not good for women. Yesterday, I 
found that your mother had actually taken this Freud book out 


of the Athenaeum. She was embarrassed when T found her 
reading it in the small music-room, and gave as her reason that 
she wished to know what Eleanor was doing. I am now reading 
the book myself for the same reason. 

You know and I know that all this idea of sex is largely 
"bosh." I can frankly say that sex has not played a dominant 
part in my own life, and I trust that it has not in yours. Nc 
right-thinking man permits his mind to dwell upon such things, 
and the same must be true of women. And now this is enough 
of this unsavoury subject. 

On Sunday we had our usual game of indoor baseball on 
the lawn at Hilkrest and afterwards picnicked on the piazza. 
On Saturday 1 went for my usual bird walk with Clara Good- 
rich. We saw six thrushes, a Wilson snipe, and a Baltimore 
oriole. 1 am not entirely sure about the snipe. . . . 

Dear John: 

1 wish there weren't quite so many new ideas. Where do 
they come from? You seem to play with them and toss them 
aside, but I cannot. 1 try to think what is in back of them and 
speculation often disturbs my sleep. Why is everyone trying 
to break away from what we all know is sane and good? 
There is only one right way to live; there is only one right way 
to write and to paint. Yet all you youngsters seem to be search- 
ing for another way to do everything. What worries me most 
is that you seem to be searching for an easier way and a pleas- 
anter way. Nothing which is worth while is easy, nor in my 
experience is the actual doing of it particularly pleasant. The 
pffeasure arises from completion and from the knowledge that 
one has done the right thing and has stood by one's convic- 
tions. Don't forget, John, that the only real satisfaction in life 
must be derived from this. 

1 do not want to be an "old fogey ." I try to keep my mind 


open to everything. This afternoon your sister invited Hopkins 
and me to an exhibition of modern painting in Newbury Street 
in which she seems to be deeply interested. Of course, I have 
heard of Cubism before the War and have laughed as heartily 
as anyone at the Nude Descending the Staircase, but now to 
see supposedly intelligent people gaping at a wall full of 
paint slobbered willy-nilly over canvas makes me feel that 
the world is going mad. Eleanor, who appears to have read 
about it, endeavoured to explain something of the theory, but 
the Monets at the Art Museum are radical enough for me. I 
want to know what I am looking at. Surely so does everyone 
else in his proper senses. I am glad to say that Hopkins agrees 
with me. He is very kind to Eleanor, though, and I believe 
tries his level best to share in her interests. . . . 

Dear John : 

There is no use beating about the bush ; Eleanor has refused 
Hopkins Balch, He proposed to her last evening after asking 
my permission, i have tried to think that her refusal was the 
result of the suddenness of his proposal and soon would be 
changed to womanly surrender, but after a talk with her in 
the library this evening I am forced to conclude that her refusal 
is categorical. I cannot understand this; neither can your 
mother. In our day a girl was brought up to understand that 
her first duty was to find a suitable husband and to establish a 
home of her own. Surely Eleanor must realize this. I do not 
like to think that she is the sort of girl to lead Hopkins on. Yet 
surely she must have given him some sort of encouragement. 
He is by far the most suitable man who has ever come into 
the house, and I cannot escape the conviction that she could 
love him if she tried, especially when these two have so much 
in common in background and in tradition. Instead of making 
an effort to see the good in Hopkins, she has allowed herself 


to be swayed entirely by his mental and physical defects. It 
is true that Hopkins has the Balch nose and wears glasses, but 
what of it? What worries me most is that this cavaJier treat- 
ment of Hopkins may be very serious for Eleanor, since it will 
inevitably give her the reputation of being a flirt. I am afraid 
that young fellows with serious intentions will begin 'to avoid 

I must tell you frankly that I had built up my hopes on this 
more than I should have. I should like to see my children 
happy and settled. I was married and settled when 1 was your 
age. Both of you must see that the time has come for you 
to settle down. Why don't you settle down? 1 wish you would, 
if only to please your mother who seems to be under the im- 
pression, why 1 cannot fancy, that this is all my fault. When 
your friends in New York mention this matter of Eleanor and 
Hopkins, as they doubtless will, you must adopt my attitude. 
It will be best to tell them that Eleanor and Hopkins have been 
childhood friends and that there has never been anything be- 
tween them but the comradeship natural to boys and girls who 
have played together and who will play together always. . . , 

As has been said, out of the rich store of material available, 
these letters have been chosen almost at random. Yet even this 
casual selection is sufficient to illustrate the eagerness in Apley 
to assimilate new ideas and the inevitable difficulty which he 
experienced in the assimilation. It was a difficulty shared by 
many of his contemporaries, who, appalled, have watched the 
rising tide of alien theories which still threatens to engulf us 
and which has done so much to undermine moral fabric and 
inherent sound sense. Thanks to men of Apley's stamp, who 
have been able to keep before them through all this stress a 
realization of abstract right and wrong and a practical philos- 


ophy, little real harm has yet been done. The foundations 
which have been assailed still stand. 

To quote the words of one of the ablest fiction delineators of 
Boston since the mantle of interpretation descended on him 
from the shoulders of William Dean Howells "Everything 
is certain to swing back." This quotation is taken from a novel 
dealing with our locale published in 1931, when, as this novelist 
has said, the cocksure new generation u was beginning to per- 
ceive that its vaunted philosophy of utter naturalness at the cost 
of all formulae was Dead Sea fruit." We may quote further the 
words of a main character, in themselves both hopeful and 

Everything is certain to swing back. . . . But I am wonder- 
ing, though, who'll comfort the others who went the pace and 
showed such scorn for the rest of us. The unleashed, cocksure 
spirits, youths and maidens, who glorified filth in the name of 
liberty and crammed it down our throats. For only think, 
they're already in the shadow and their public has turned to 
detective stories and the private lives of bandits. Boston is a 
pretty stable place to live in, dear old boy. 

It is a relief and in a very definite way a vindication to the 
present writer to see a new generation rising which is turning 
from the war-jaded individuals of John Apley's time. It is a 
satisfaction to see that we are at a turning of the ways, where 
the path bends back toward the security of the formulae for 
which George Apley and the rest of us have stood. We are 
learning from the example which George Apley gave by liv- 
ing, if not from his precepts, that he did not live in vain. It is 
because of him that there is a kindliness, a keen concern for the 


good of others, an uncompromising honesty still extant here 
in Boston. In a decade where the pledged word has been lightly 
broken even by the elected leaders of our nation, there are still 
men in these environs whose word is good. There are still men 
here who can stand and fall by their convictions, honestly 
formed, no matter what these convictions may be, or where 
they may ultimately lead, as long as they are convictions. 

I am very much afraid [George Apley wrote toward the 
end of his life] that John and Eleanor are sailing upon un- 
charted seas while I am safe in harbour. 



A Defense of Position and 
Marital Implications 

TTF THE reader has gathered from these letters that George 
JJL Apley's life had grown more leisurely, that he was in- 
dulging in criticisms unconfirmed by action, this is a mistake 
for Apley was primarily a man of action. Throughout these 
turbulent years of the twenties, Apley identified himself more 
and more with Henry Salter and the Save Boston Society. He 
did so instinctively, as one might who felt that his traditions 
were endangered, as indeed they were. He did so, however, 
with reservations. 

There is much in Salter's methods that I do not like [he 
writes]. I do not quite go his lengths in endeavouring to raise 
the moral tone of the community. I believe that there are 
limits in tastes and behaviour beyond which one should not im- 
pose his will. I believe that straightforward education is better 
than censorship and I am not by nature a '^snooper" who strives 
to uncover concealed vice. It may be a weakness of mine, but 
I cannot find myself aroused until vice is actually endangering 
the whole community. At such a time I shall yield to no man 
my place in the forefront of the battle. I think that Salter is 


wasting many of his great talents in seeking to prosecute sellers 
of obscene postcards and to stir up an indifferent police about 
performances given in such places as the Old Howard Athen- 
aeum. At Salter's instigation, 1 have been several times to that 
beautiful old theatre, really a landmark of the old days, and 
have observed the performance. While much of it is undoubt- 
edly censurable, I cannot believe that it does any great harm 
to the type of person who sees it and within limits I think we 
should adhere to the doctrine "live and let live." Nevertheless, 
I greatly admire Salterns undeviating courage and his devotion 
to the public good. My check for a larger amount than usual 
goes again to the Save Boston Society. 

When it comes to uncovering the manifest corruption which 
exists in the municipal affairs, I am behind Salter heart and 
soul. I am ashamed at the cowardice manifested by so many 
persons who should know better and who are high enough up 
in business to be leaders of the community. These people who 
should strike for the right are seldom there at the proper time. 
Should the hour of need arise I hope that I shall not be found 
among the shirkers. 

This quotation should be an ample answer to those who 
have criticized through ignorance Apley's membership on the 
Save Boston Committee. It need only be added that on sev- 
eral occasions he followed his own dictates and even collided 
with Salter. Thus when the radical editor of a nationally 
known periodical was arrested on Boston Common for selling 
his magazine containing a doubtful article Apley objected to 
the futility of the whole performance. Although the article 
was distasteful to him personally, he felt that it dealt truth- 
fully and artistically with a social evil that needs a certain 
wholesome recognition. It was only due to the persuasion of 


his wife and of his sister, Amelia Simmings, that he did not 
offer financial help to this editor in the ensuing legal battle. 
With this prelude it is necessary to turn to the episode, so well 
known and so frequently misunderstood, when Apley appeared 
in the center of the stage to take up the cudgels against a lawyer 
and a faithless civil servant 

This [one of his friends has written] was the one great mis- 
take of Apley's life. He should have let well enough alone. 
He was warned to let well enough alone. George was no match 
for an unscrupulous Irish politician. He might as well have 
tried to enter the ring with Jack Dempsey. Nevertheless, he 
chose to do it. 

It is to Apley's credit that he chose seldom to speak about 
this affair when it was over, deeply as it must have moved him, 
but 'resorted rather to a dignified silence. Thus it is difficult at 
this time to find what interested Apley first in a notorious mat- 
ter which never reached a final conclusion. Now that the entire 
jepisode has quieted down it is fortunately well on the way 
toward being forgotten, like so many other scandalous pieces of 
civic maladministration. Even at the time the stir subsided 
quickly, since fortunately an aroused public was faced with 
monstrous and alleged blackmail in a far higher public office j 
but this scandal, the resultant legal battles, and the char- 
acters involved are a part of our somewhat turgid city hi* 
tory. Compared to this excitement the drama in which Apley 
played a leading part is modest, in that it seems to have con- 
cerned only a certain element of the police force backed by 
a lawyer who appears to have had only the limited support of 
certain unscrupulous political interests. 


It is, incidentally, vastly to the credit of the Boston press 
that nothing of this appeared at the time in print either in the 
Boston Evening Transcript or the Boston Herald. Only in two 
lesser journals were there a few "squibs" on the subject. 
These did little or no harm, since they could have been read 
by few of Apley's friends outside of the garage and the kitchen 
or were generally not given serious attention. It may be added 
here that our better-known public prints have more than once 
done yeoman's service in protecting the name and reputation 
of our better element. It is only m later years that some have 
succumbed to the disease of sensationalism to such an extent 
that this writer is told on good authority, by persons who 
should know, that it is more and more difficult to convince cer- 
tain journalists that there are facts which either should be sup- 
pressed or should, if necessity absolutely demands it, be placed 
in a small "squib" on one of the rear pages. 

But we are getting far afield. This phase of Boston journal- 
ism is only mentioned as proof of the utter needlessness, in this 
writer's opinion, for bringing up this side of Apley's life at the 
present time. As one of Apley's oldest friends and admirers, he 
consents to do so now only for three reasons. First, this little 
volume, because of its limited circulation, will only appear be- 
fore the sympathetic eyes of Apley's own immediate family. 
Second, Apley's son, out of some eccentric wish to deal honestly 
with his father's memory by exaggerating certain phases, has 
demanded its inclusion in spite of all objections; The third 
reason is a more subtle one. It has to do with an element of 
drama which, try as one may to avoid it, creeps mysteriously 
into the life of every human being. Apley himself, with that 
Tightness of perception which has ever characterized him, was 
able to see this element and to observe its gentle irony. 


I wish, Will [he wrote, not long before his death, confi- 
dentially to the present writer], that I had your great pow- 
ers of expression, powers which have borne such fruit and 
which are so universally recognized. I wish that I had your 
trenchant, pungent pen, your painstaking concentration, and 
with it your ability to probe deep beneath the veneer of charac- 
ter. If I had it I should spend the time, now that the doctor 
does not allow me to walk up and down stairs more than once 
a day, in writing a bit of my own life, proving that the past, 
which one has well-nigh forgotten, may return again in an odil 
moment a bit of the past that was rather beautiful came to 
help me once in the sordidness of the present. I shall always 
revere that memory. 1 think you understand to what I allude. 
It seems so much more beautiful to me than the crass realism 
of present fiction. She had grown a trifle stout. Age had touched 
her, as it hat> touched us all, but still she was very beautiful. 

The above quotation is ample evidence of Apley's idealism. 
He shared, in common with many State Street bankers, as has 
been evidenced by certain transactions in the present financial 
chaos, the belief that all men in every walk of life must be 
actuated by the high principles taught our class. Granted that 
this belief has caused much hardship in recent years to many 
widows and orphans, whose slender investments have been 
swept away on account of it, it none the less has merit. Thus, 
when Apley was confronted, because of the investigations of his 
friend Salter in behalf of the Save Boston Committee, with 
certain patent irregularities in the Police Department, he was 
deeply shocked. 

That such a thing should come to pass here beneath our very 
noses [we find him writing] is to me incredible. I had thought 
after the Police Strike that the fine young fellows who had been 


taken into the service young men who for the most part 
had served their country bravely overseas would be beyond 
taint and corruption. This thing smells as much to heaven as 
the muckrakings of the radical Sinclair Lewis who is doing so 
much to discredit America. Something must be done. 

To individuals of a different stamp, grown cynical by ex- 
posure to such matters, among whose number unfortunately 
must be included the younger members of Apley's own family, 
the peccadilloes of the Boston police would not have appeared 
60 important. In spite of the shafts which have been launched 
at us by the envious from other sections of the country, the 
Boston police are no more corrupt than the police in other large 
centers witness the scandals in New York and Chicago. In 
such large enforcement organizations there must of necessity 
be certain unscrupulous members. 

Ap ley's own son took this point of view, and a letter of his 
from his father's files deals plainly with the case in a language 
which this writer will not claim for hi* own. 

Dear Father: 

Your letter makes me worried about you. I have always 
thought that Salter would get you into trouble sometime be- 
cause he is one of these people who can never mind his own 
business. This penchant for reforming the world is one of our 
very worst puritanical traits. Now 1 am really afraid that he 
is getting you into deep water. There is plenty of vice every- 
where. It exists and you and I can't do anything about it. I 
not what you say about the two detectives on the Vies Squad. 
It is an old game, that of getting a woman to lure some man 
with money into a room in some disreputable hotel, and then 
having detectives break in and make an arrest. When Noah 
got out of the Ark there was orobably an attorney outside w 


the ball ready to compose matters by the payment of what 
you term blackmail. I wish you could realize that there is 
nothing new in it and nothing startling. Your letter which you 
ask me to burn does not give me a single indignant quiver. 

In my opinion any old dodo, whether he is in the Social 
Register or not, who gets himself caught upstairs in a hotel 
room where he does not belong, ought to be made to pay for it. 
It's his funeral. It isn't yours. 

Have you ever thought why Salter wants to push you into 
this thing? I'll tell you why because he hasn't got the guts 
himself. I hate to speak so strongly but 1 feel it. You say that 
other private attorneys have not the courage or the public spirit 
to take up the case. In my humble opinion they are showing 
very good sense. You are not a criminal lawyer and you never 
have been. Your work in Apley and Reid has been almost en 
tirely trust work. If you get mixed up with shyster lawyer* 
you'll get hurt. It is all right when it comes to protesting 
against electric signs on the Common and about changes on the 
Esplanade, but let it go at that. 

At any rate, don't do anything until I have seen you. Since 
you have cautioned me not to speak to Mother about it, I won't. 
But 1 feel so strongly about this that I am coming up to Boston 
next weekend. There are some plans of my own which I wish to 
speak about at any rate. . . . 

This letter requires but little comment. It represents a prac 
tical and compromising point of view which was foreign to 
Apley's nature when he was thoroughly aroused. Why this sit- 
uation should have aroused him does not perhaps admit of any 
easy explanation unless one casts back over the threads of his 
life. There may have been in his actions something of personal 
vindication but more than that are shown the inherent incon- 
sistencies of his character. On the one hand, we have found him 


struggling for security; on the other, we have found him strug- 
gling against it. Something of this personal tumult which may 
never wholly be resolved is reflected in an intimate letter to his 
friend, Walker, written at the time. It was written when Apley 
was recovering from a bad bout with the grippe and the en- 
suing physical weakness may have caused him to give way to 
a definite weakness of character. 

For several days, while lying still in bed, listening to Cath- 
arine read me "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," 
I have had a good deal of time to think about myself and not 
so pleasantly either, Mike. Here I am getting to be an old man. 
I seem to have done nothing except develop a few convictions 
I have been busy, and even now detail work and the household 
bills are creeping up on me; but I have really done nothing. 
I have sat and have watched the things which I have cared for 
most in life being threatened on every side. I fully realize that I 
have never struck an honest blow for them. It is time for some- 
one to strike a blow, and now I have an opportunity. I will 
tell you about it later. 

Just this morning, however, just when I was recovered 
enough to be able to crawl down to the library and to take down 
a Waverley, which seems to* stick in my mind better than Gib- 
bon, I received a piece of news which demanded nearly 
all my attention. John has written me that he has been secretly 
married for two months to a Mrs. McCullogh of Bay Heights, 
Long Island. He has spoken of her sometimes, but, I never con- 
ceived, believing that John was basically sound, that such an 
eventuality would be possible. From all I have been able to 
gather, Mrs. McCullogh comes of a reasonably good New 
York family, but this is not the point. The point is that Mrs. 
McCullogh was in Reno, Nevada, six months ago, where she 
obtained a divorce from her husband, on the grounds of cruel 


and abusive treatment. Although T cannot and will not believe 
for a moment that John, in any way whatsoever, had anything 
to do with this divorce, at the same time the matter presents an 
aspect which makes me glad at last that John's activities are 
centred about New York instead of here. I had hoped that he 
might be back with us again but now this will be impossible, at 
least for several years. Of course his mother, wlio is more upset 
than I am, has been out already telling our friends and the 
family that she is pleased with the news and glad that at 
last John is settling down. She is adding, as I hope that you 
will add, that our new daughter-in-law is a very fine person 
and that John is fortunate in every way. His aunt and his 
cousins have been so splendid about it that I am very proud of 
the family. John is coming to see me to-morrow. His wife is 
staying in New York. 

Frankly, I had hoped better things of John but now that he 
has in quite a real sense left us, I feel more than ever a sense 
of responsibility toward the family. It is time that some one 
of us took a definite and a strong position. Due to the kindness 
of Henry Salter, the opportunity is ready for my hand. When I 
am able to leave the house I am going to gather together ma- 
terial which will result in the conviction of a lawyer here 
named O'Reilly and two plain-clothes detectives for blackmail. 

This letter, written at a dark moment, similar to several 
which we have found crowding on his life through no fault of 
his own, mirrors only one of these rare gloomy moods. In many 
ways he was to be pleasantly surprised at many aspects of this 
seemingly impossible union. Indeed a few years later Apley's 
fondness for his new daughter-in-law, which was considered by 
some to verge on almost unjust partiality, was mentioned by 
both his wife and daughter, but always in a cheerful spirit j in 
fact, everyone who has met Louise Hogarth Apley has sue- 


cumbed to her charm and it is gratifying to many, now that 
John Apley's duty and position have made his thoughts turn 
more and more to the city of his birth, that his gracious and 
talented wife is now the new hostess of Hillcrest. Even after 
his first conversation with his son, George Apley's worst fears 
were allayed. 

Dear John: 

I cannot for the life of me see why you did not tell me in 
the first place that Louise, whom I am growing more and more 
anxious daily to set eyes upon, was one of the Hogarths of 
Connecticut. This, of course, makes a very great difference, 
foolish, perhaps, in your eyes, but not in mine. It has always 
been a most important thing with me to place a person. Many 
of us are accused unjustly of being snobbish. This is not the 
case. The so-called snobbishness is generally due to one's in- 
ability to place the subject of it in the accepted social scale. 
Louise's being a Hogarth places her perfectly. I am sure that 
the man McCullogh must have been a very bad hat. 

There is one thing which pleases me even more than this. 
That is your news that Louise is very comfortably off in her 
own right. While the actual financial element fortunately 
makes very little difference, as we all seem to be a little more 
comfortably off no matter what happens, the appearance of 
everything is much better. There can be no possibility of talk of 
Louise's marrying you for your money, and an even division 
of property on each side makes on the whole for a happy mar- 
riage, according to my observation. 

Your mother is redecorating your old room arid putting 
twin beds in it, as seems to be the new fashion. She wishes me 
to write Louise, as 1 certainly shall, and as she is doing also, 
asking you both to come up next week. 1 may add that you owe 
it to the family yourself. They have stood by you like nailers 


through this thing. Even your Cousin Henry Apley has writ- 
ten me a letter of congratulation, which I do not think is ironi- 
cal. This was on the whole broad-minded of him, considering 
his pique about moving Cousin Harriet. I am glad that I 
have been to the cemetery to see where she has finally been 

Besides all this, I think it is a very important thing for you 
to show your face at both the Province and the Berkley Club. 
That Tennis and Squash Club of yours, where there is so much 
drinking, does not really matter. 1 need not say that I shall 
be glad to take the time to appear with you at both the Province 
and the Berkley Clubs and even think it might be well to ar- 
range a small dinner for you at each. This, if ever, is a time 
when the head must be held high, and you may not realize, as 
I do, what a store casual people place on such gestures. 

There is one thing, though, on which my mind is set and 
upon which you are hardly in a position to judge. You 
have had your fling, John, and I shall have mine. Before I 
have finished, this man O'Reilly will face the jury of the crimi- 
nal court, let the chips fall where they may. Again I caution 
you not to mention jhis to your mother. Things are going 
very well in this direction. I believe I very nearly induced 
one of the victims of this petty blackmail ring to prepare him- 
self to testify. O'Reilly himself is disturbed and has been 
around to see me. He is red-faced and noisy, with the makings 
of a demagogue. He wishes, of course, for me to "lay off," as 
he puts it, but I shall do nothing of the sort. I feel ten years 
younger since 1 have taken up the cudgels in this matter. . . . 

Always happy in activity, it may very well be that the next 
few months were some of the happiest in Apley's life. He was 
finding himself and was playing a part in the world which he 
had not known, always a stimulating matter. His personality 


was making itself felt there, as it had in the life where his lot 
had placed him. In many ways, under suitable circumstances, 
his sympathy and his sense of humor were very keen. An adept, 
from long experience, in collating facts, his work in this self- 
imposed task was in a measure congenial. The letters which he 
wrote to his friend Walker, now as ever his favorite confidant, 
betray an elation which is perhaps not entirely healthy. He 
speaks of standing on his own feet at last. He even speaks al- 
most jeeringly of certain institutions and of certain friends 
who did not share this liberation of the spirit. 

In many ways [he writes] I wish that I had embraced crimi- 
nal law, for there is certainly nothing humdrum about this 
business, and one is face to face with life. Salter is a brick about 
everything. He has detailed two investigators under my orders. 
These fellows dig up all sorts of matters and bring the most 
amazing types into the office. Reid, who has grown to be 
pretty much of an "old fogey" now that he is growing older, 
has obliged me to take another office across the hall as he says 
that my new clients, as he calls them, disturb our old clients 
who come in to discuss their investments. Be this as it may, my 
new clients are most amusing. I can tell you some good stories 
about them, Mike, when next we meet. 

Do you remember the old days when we had the snowball 
battles on the Common the North End against the West 
End? This experience reminds me very much of those days. 
I see the same sort of fellows and a lot of them are capital 
people. I am glad now that I have always made it a point of 
going once every two weeks to chat with the men in the Apley 
Sailors' Home. My experience there helps me a great deal 
here. It leads to the definite conviction that there is a lot of 
good in everyone. 

This O'Reilly cannot be very popular as many persons in 


every walk of life are anxious to have him punished. I have 
looked up his record. He went to the Boston Latin School 
which proves that I was right in always thinking that this 
school has been losing its grip since my father's time. What is 
not a little exasperating is the very great difficulty in getting 
any bona fide evidence in such a case, since no one wishes to 
appear, for private reasons. One generally seems to have to 
talk to friends of friends. Only this afternoon, however, mat- 
ters seemed to be clearing up. A man has come to me, intro- 
duced by one of Salter's agents, who has a friend living at a 
hotel in the south part of the city, the name of which I have 
never encountered and which would certainly mean nothing 
to you. His friend has been one of those who has been vic- 
timized by O'Reilly and requests a personal interview. These 
poor fellows are all shy. He is afraid to come to the office, but 
his friend is arranging things so that I can go to the hotel and 
see him to-morrow afternoon. 

It is great to be doing something, Mike. For the first time 
in a long while I feel that life amounts to something. 



The Facing of an Event 

Which Had Far Better Not Have Been Included 
In This Work 

fT IS this writer's experience that at some time or other 
the best of us is inclined to "take the bit in his teeth." Such 
can be the onJy explanation for Apley's lack of judgment, that 
and his confiding belief that other men acted according to 
his own lights. Always a man of caution and acumen in con- 
ducting the affairs of others, to the extent that he came through 
the depression with the reputation of being one of the best 
trustees in Boston, Apley in this instance was neglectful of his 
own interests. It will be remembered that Apley was one of the 
few who sensed the impending difficulties in the orgy of the 
1929 market, but this man was not the Apley who embarked 
upon an errand about which many of his friends had cautioned 
him, including the present writer. At five o'clock, on a February 
afternoon, Apley left his office in State Street, a man without 
a blemish. At seven o'clock that evening George Apley was 
under arrest in a Precinct Police Station house under charges 
of having been discovered in a hotel bedroom with a woman of 
doubtful reputation. This unbelievable change in affairs, as is 


well enough known now, was engineered by the man O'Reilly, 
who must have long been waiting the opportunity to tar with 
his own brush a man of public spirit and beyond reasonable 
reproach. Although no one living can doubt the foil) of 
this accusation, the very absurdity has cast its own shadow, for, 
while granting its absurdity, many who knew him best ever 
afterwards took a light view of George Apley's ability, going 
even so far as to indulge in mistakenly humorous comments, 
and this for Apley was a very real burden. There is no doubt 
that through this unforeseen accident Apley lost a certain posi- 
tion as a man of affairs. Thus it must largely be ascribed to these 
circumstances more than to any desire for ease on his part that 
Apley's name did not appear as often of later years on com- 
mittees where he had been formerly one of the most useful 
and indefatigable guiding spirits. Only toward the end of 
Apley's life did certain persons realize their error. 

It was a time when Apley was at last to know his true friend? 
and their loyalty he never forgot. His first action on being 
freed on bail was to offer his resignation to the Province and 
the Berkley Clubs, in two identical letters: 


Through no fault of mine, I find myself accused of a crime 
the commission of which I trust I will be considered in- 
capable. As I have ever) 7 fear that my name will appear in this 
connection in the public prints, I offer my resignation to this 
Club. I do so as much out of consideration to myself as to 
others. I cannot appear in any company any member of which 
may harbour a doubt regarding my reputation. . . . 

It is needless to add that Apley's resignation was not ac- 
cepted, nor was it accepted from any other organization where 


it was tendered. As many friends told him, this high-mitided 
gesture was not necessary, and in the perspective of years it is 
very clear that altogether too much was made of the matter. 
It can remain now only as a tribute to Apley's integrity that 
he took the affair so seriously. Any man as high-minded as he 
might have found himself in a similar predicament. 

The more responsible members of our community were 
deeply aroused, even many who knew Apley's name without 
having had the honor of his acquaintance. There was a general 
feeling of indignation that our legal system, with its myriad 
delays and innumerable loopholes of escape for the criminal, 
could be such as to impugn the motives of a man of Apley's 
stamp to the length of threatening him with an appearance be- 
fore the bar of justice. To many it seemed a strange irony that 
there should be any necessity for Apley's word being balanced 
against the words of two presumably faithless public servants 
An informal and secret committee was formed at once of men 
of affairs with political and other connections, to take full 
charge of Apley's interests, and the important sections of the 
press hastened to cooperate. Almost overnight representations 
were made in political quarters where they would do the most 
good, including, it has been said, the Governor of the Common- 
wealth. It was unfortunate at the time that Salter, who would 
have been of great help, was in Florida investigating prison 

Although in the best informed quarters the spirit against the 
man O'Reilly ran high, it seems peculiar in the light of the 
present that there should have been a cleavage along certain 
national and religious lines. The fact remains, however, that 
those political demagogues, who are always with us, showed 
unmistakable and dangerous signs of using this incident to fan 


the fictitious flame of class antagonism. In twenty-four hours 
those familiar with the beat of the popular pulse reluctantly 
reached the conclusion that a very real crisis was arising out 
of the ill-considered talk among politicians who were "mak- 
ing hay." There were actually murmurs, undoubtedly fostered 
by the man O'Reilly, of privilege and of persecution of the 

Fortunately, perhaps, there was but one simple thought in 
the mind of everyone who heard of this, which stood out 
above any desire to comment. It concerned the natural question 
of how Apley had ever fallen into this predicament. This ques- 
tion has been answered frankly by Apley himself, whose 
dignified attitude through all this trying time could not have 
been improved upon. It is answered by him in a frank memorial 
written at the time for benefit of friends and family, and read 
afterwards at several dinner clubs: 

There are times when one must be frank. 1 have always 
been willing to admit my faults and I should be a very "bad 
sport" now if I did not plead guilty to the faults of careless- 
ness and stupidity. The man who gave his name as Morrissey, 
and whom I have never seen nor heard of since, much as I 
should like to meet him, accompanied me to the hotel in 
question, where, I may add, he seemed well known to the em- 
ployees, although these subsequently have consistently denied 
all knowledge of him. He led me, with the tacit consent of 
those employees, up one flight of stairs and along a corridor 
where there were sounds of phonograph music and worse, to 
a door midway down this corridor, which he opened without 
knocking, and invited me inside. I was dull enough to accept 
his invitation. Saying that he would be back in a moment, he 
dosed the door behind me, permitting me to find myself in 


a shoddily furnished apartment and to discover that the man 
whom I was seeking was not there. Instead I found myself 
racing a woman whom I had never seen before, quite patently 
in negligee. Before I even had the opportunity to excuse my 
presence and to say that there must be some mistake there was a 
thundering knock on the door. Before I was allowed time to 
answer this summons the door was broken open. I had not 
realized that it was secured by a spring lock. Two men ap- 
peared, with police badges, who refused cynically, aJmost 
rudely, to accept my naturaJ explanation. This is my honest 
version of an affair which may be believed or disbelieved by 
anyone who knows me. 

I may add that five minutes later, before I left this place, 
Mr. O'Reilly appeared and presented in garbled language a 
proposal for settling the matter then and there. I did not find 
myself in a position to accept his proposal. I demanded at once 
to be taken to the nearest station house. I was pleased that my 
learned opponent, Mr. O'Reilly, seemed surprised and even 
somewhat disconcerted by this demand. I told him he did not 
know whom he was dealing with. 

In the ensuing days Mr. O'Reilly was to realize very defi- 
nitely the type of man with whom he was dealing. There is 
one doubt which no one who is acquainted with this affair can 
harbor against George Apleyj that is, any reflection upon his 
undisputed coolness, fortitude, and courage. From the outset, 
he expressed not only a willingness but a definite desire to ap- 
pear in Court and to seek vindication. It was this desire which 
made the good offices of his friends both embarrassing and 
difficult, for there were certain very cogent reasons at the time 
why this matter should have been hushed up, and every repre- 
sentation was laid before him. 

T 'he present writer's certain knowledge a conference wsu 


arranged behind closed doors in a well-known law firm, where 
O'Reilly and Apley met face to face in an effort to compose 
their difficulties. By this time, however, it was too late. Certain 
slanderous insinuations had come to Apley's ears, emanating 
from the turbulent political element which has been our curse. 
According to everything this writer has been able to gather, 
the man O'Reilly was hotheaded and importunate. He also 
demanded a triaJ for what he had the ill grace to call his 
own personal vindication. Three days after Apley's apprehen- 
sion the situation was increasingly ugly. It seemed as though 
Apley and many others were to be involved in a very un- 
savory quarrel. 

The reason why Apley allowed the matter to drop even to- 
day is not very generally known. The explanation lies at the 
present writer's hand and it will now be given light. It is in- 
cluded in the following letter, and in a letter to his friend 
Walker. The letter which is now quoted was found with two 
others in a secret drawer of Apley's desk. 

Dear Mr. Apley: 

1 wonder if you still remember who I am? It has all been 
such a long while ago, but 1 still remember you and I have 
thought about you a great deal and I have always been glad 
that 1 knew you. I remember you as a fine gentleman. I know 
you are still. 1 know it has been a long while since our paths 
have crossed, but now the time has come when 1 really must 
see you tor your own sake, because knowing you, I will not 
see you hurt. Can 1 call on you at your own house privately at 
five o'clock to-morrow afternoon? 

1 sign myself by the name which I still hope that you 



It is of interest to note that on the same date that the above 
letter was written Apley himself wrote as follows, to a friend 
of his in a public position of very great importance so great 
that names will not be mentioned even in these intimate 

I am grateful and I am honoured by your concern in me per- 
sonal ly. I can also understand your worry over such a public 
airing of a controversy on the eve of an election. 

If you will pardon my saying so, 1 do not think your concern 
on the last point does you credit. It is out of keeping with the 
high place which your family has always held in state and na- 
tional councils. We have compromised too long with principle 
here and elsewhere. I do not propose to make any such com- 

Any mental anguish which a complete airing of this matter 
may cause me or my family is something which I shall gladly 
endure for the sake of principle. I am ready and anxious to 
have my day in Court. I am anxious to take my place among 
the few who do not compromise for personal or for material 

If Apley's point of view, so categorically expressed above, 
underwent a change after the interview foreshadowed by the 
letter of the former Miss Monahan, his reasons are deeply per- 
sonal and private. It was only when an unforeseen aspect of the 
situation was presented to him that Apley consented to change 
his position. This change was not due to an alteration of princi- 
ple but due to a human element involved which appealed to 
Apley's sense of chivalry. It is fortunate that something of hit 
reaction is still extant in a communication to his friend Walker f 
now in this writer's hands. 


I have been very deeply moved this afternoon [he writes] 
and I am still a little bewildered at myself. In a most unfore- 
seen way the long arm of the past has reached out through 
the haze of memories and has touched me on the shoulder. 
This afternoon a figure of my past came back like a ghost, but 
a living ghost. It was a strange experience in the agony which 
I have suffered of late and strange for the humdrum world in 
which we live. 1 wonder if you remember something which 
happened in college, of which I made you a confidant. If you 
do, I need only say that she came back in my hour of need 
and sat with me alone in my library on Beacon Street, for two 
hours, a sort of a ghost of an Annabelle Lee. We had our own 
kingdom by the sea once and a little of that kingdom came 
back too. At any rate, a very strange thing occurred. She was 
much more real to me and the time we spent is a much more 
real space of time than anything in the dull years which have 
elapsed. In those two hours I could believe that I was alive 
again after a period of partial paralysis and I know she felt 
as I did. Her voice called something back. She had come* to 
help me in my hour of need. I was glad to be able to help her 
instead, but I could not have done otherwise. 

One must be loyal to one's people and I know now that she 
has been one of my own people always. When she told me that 
the man O'Reilly was her husband's cousin this was enough. 
I cannot and 1 shall not raise my hand against anything which 
belongs to her. Though I do not agree with her point of view 
I can sympathize with it, because it is based on family. She has 
a position quite apart from ours but none the less important. 
She is connected by family with many of our officials. I believe 
after this talk that something may be arranged. 

When I told Catharine about this, when she tapped on the 
library door at the end of an hour and a half, Catharine's picas- 


ure in itself was a reward. Those two, although I could not 
have believed it, were sisters under the skin, little as I have 
ever liked the expression and little as I approve of Kipling's 
jingles. 1 shall never forget the light m Catharine's eyes 
when she took her hand with most unusual impulsiveness and 
said: "I am so glad that you are looking after George. He 
needs it sometimes, doesn't he?" I did not try to disabuse her 
ot her error. Catharine would never understand that i was 
looking after memory. 

This letter, vague tn itself, shows a human side of Apley 
which" may have been neglected. It illustrates the depth of his 
nature and betrays a hint of that melancholy, as well as of 
that frustration prevalent in many of us, which he customarily 
hid beneath his common sense and cheerfulness. It shows that 
Apley was what this biographer has striven perhaps vainly to 
shov/ a man in every sense, a man of flesh and blood and a 
generous, tolerant man. The result of this single interview 
quickly became apparent. 

I have spent this afternoon talking to O'Reilly [he writes 
again to Walker] . In many ways the man is a capital fellow. He 
knows a great deaj about pugilism and sport, and seems sur- 
prised that I was once interested in boxing. He was more sur- 
prised at several things which his cousin had told him. We all 
met together pleasantly and informally in South Boston. I 
tell you this confidentially as no one else knows of it and no 
one must know, including Catharine. I am glad to be able to 
turn some work over to O'Reilly; which is quite different from 
the sort of thing he has been doing. In the course of the after- 
noon a number of his friends came to call, who also turned out 
to be very good fellows indeed. Now that we know each other, 
I think all difficulty is over. I have agreed to give anony- 


mously of course a sum for the building and the upkeep of 
a municipal gymnasium in South Boston. It was a pleasure to 
be able to relieve O'Reilly of certain small financial difficulties. 
The two detectives who arrested me were also present at the 
meeting. They, too, turned out to be surprisingly human, with 
wives and children of their own. One of them served in John's 
army organization and was actually present when John re- 
ceived his wound. The world is a small place after all. Both 
these men, at my inducement, are gladly withdrawing from the 
police force to take positions as watchmen at the Apley Mills, 
where I think they will be very useful. Furthermore, O'Reilly 
in the most generous possible spirit has volunteered to write a 
letter, which will be made public, explaining that the whole 
matter centred around the mistaken number of the room and 
ending with a very handsome and manly apology I think 
that everyone concerned in this affair is to be congratulated. 

The actual details of these negotiations have never been 
made public, nor is there any need to speculate upon them at 
present except to say that whatever they may have been, they 
were a result of Apley's generosity. It is worth while noting 
here also that in after years Apley's attitude toward our South 
Boston element was marked by kindliness arid understanding. 
Opportunities were often taken by various persons politically 
popular in that section to say a commendatory word for Apley. 
In fact, in certain diatribes against so-called "bluestocking" 
classes Apley's name was frequently specifically mentioned as 
an exception. The floral tributes which appeared at his funeral 
from many Hibernian organizations were prrtof enough of the 
esteem in which he was held. 

There is no doubt that in the broader sense Apley was a man 
beloved bv all. There are many who still remember in the last 


years of Apley's life, when he volunteered to take a place on the 
Hoover Flying Caravan, which penetrated even the most hos- 
tile and violent districts of South Boston, that when Apley 
arose to speak there against Bossism, much to the concern 
of many of his friends, he was greeted with a round of cheers 
which lasted for five minutes. In fact, the applause was so 
great at various periods of his speech that he had real dif- 
ficulty in making himself understood. Indeed, after his recep- 
tion, many of the politically wise were much surprised when 
this district turned out solidly for the present incumbent in the 
White House, and reflected every one of the local individuals 
against whom Apley had so emphatically spoken. It may be 
added, however, that after this crisis in his life we find Apley 
standing more and more on the side lines, as an interested 
observer, taking less and less part in the more picturesque ef- 
forts of his contemporaries. His reasons are adequately ex- 
pressed in an address which he delivered before a coffee party 
during one of the municipal political campaigns. 

"I am glad to see so many young men here," he said, "be- 
cause it shows that you young fellows at last are becoming 
aware that you and not my generation are responsible for mak- 
ii\g Boston a decent place to live in. I think it is high time that 
we oldsters turned over the business to you. I for one do not 
believe in standing in the way of younger men. This is my 
reason for refusing a place on this committee. Nevertheless, 
as in the past, I am ready at any time with my advice and I can 
promise you that what little I contribute financially will be as 
large as ever." 

Thus we have reached a phase when Apley's public life, in 
a very considerable sense, may be considered as over. His 
thoughts were turning more and more, as an older man's musty 


toward home. But his observations on the increasing complexi- 
ties of the world around him were quite as keen as ever and 
the inherent soundness of his conclusions was unaltered. Yet 
it must not be supposed that he shirked leadership in certain 
crises. When the proposal was made to have a motor speedway 
along the Esplanade, Apley was again in the forefront of the 
battle, nor was it due to Apley's indifference that a large electric 
sign, advertising a certain inexpensive variety of motor car 
still flaunts itself insolently over the Boston Common. He 
justly called this sign, to the end of his days, "Our Badge of 
Shame." Aside from the cares of family, his thoughts were 
ever on the purpose of making Boston a better place to live in. 
"And indeed," said Apley, "it is a good place to live in, taken 
all in all. Probably the best place in this neurotic world, with 
the possible exception of London, although I am not even 
sure about this. At any rate, it is the only place I care to live in." 



A Grandfather's Salutation 

To a New and> One Must Hop*, 

A Sounder Generation 

IN THE AUTUMN of 1928 a new pleasure and a very 
great joy came into Apley's life. It need hardly be said here 
that this concerned the birth of a son to his own son and 
daughter-in-law, John and Louise Apley. 

Dear John: 

I still cannot understand why you have insisted on the new- 
fangled idea of having my grandson because I know he will 
be a boy, since something must work out right sometime 
brought into the world in the delivery room of a hospital. Your 
mother and 1 had both hoped that dear Louise might be in- 
duced to come to Hillcrest to be cared for by Doctor Hadley, 
who brought you into the world. Certainly she would have 
been as well cared for and I think that I might have been of 
some help to you in this trying time. I could explain to you 
by word of mouth, instead of by letter, that women on such 
occasions are apt to be a little bit difficult. You must be very 
careful of Louise. 

I am sending down your porringer, as well as the little mug, 
which belonged to the first John Apley. I need not say that of 


course he will bear that name, unless you wish to name him 
Thomas, after your own grandfather. 

Of course, the christening will be held at Hillcrest and my 
own dear mother's lifelong friend Mr. Pettingill will perform 
the ceremony, if his health will permit him. The big parlour 
is being newly decorated for this purpose by your mother. 1 
am seeing that your own little room by the back stairs is made 
into a nursery. The 'new nursery is being redecorated, and I 
have been up to the attic myself to get out some of my own old 
toys. You may telJ Louise that they will all be disinfected, 
although 1 am not sure that this is necessary. 1 am also having 
that sharp curve in the driveway straightened. It was well 
enough for carriages but not so for motors. This means that 
one of the large rhododendron bushes must be removed. The 
tree surgeons have been working on it this afternoon with a 
derrick and they will place it on the second terrace. 1 have been 
in communication with Groton School already and shall see 
that his name is entered at the first possible moment. 

I wish 1 were not so busy here, because I should like to be 
in New York myself. Your mother, of course, is coming down, 
so is your Aunt Amelia, and I have cabled Eleanor to cut her 
visit to Paris short and to return at once. Is there anything else 
you think 1 ought to do? 1 am setting a small fund aside for 
him to-morrow in Liberty and Municipal bonds. Your little 
pony which is still in the stable seems stiff in the legs, being now 
twenty-eight years old. I am inquiring about another one, but 
the cart and the saddle both seem very good. Of course, he 
will be christened in the dress which your great-grandmother 
embroidered for your grandfather and which I wore and which 
you wore. . . . 

Dear John: 

I need not tell you how deeply moved I was when I re- 
ceived your telegram. At last it seems as though my life were 


really worth while. My thoughts have been with you all day 
long, for I know you have been through a great ordeal. No 
ordeal that 1 have experienced, and I have passed through sev- 
eral lately, is greater than parenthood. I am glad Louise is 
doing well and I am sending my dear daughter-in-law your 
grandmother's pearl chaplet which has not seen the light for 
a long while. You may tell her that steps are already being 
taken to replace those pearls which have lost their lustre in the 
safe-deposit vault. A wire and a confirming letter have already 
gone to Groton School. I have been busy all day receiving con- 
gratulations. You will not understand until you grow older 
that this child is in a very real sense my own. 

There is one thing which worries me very deeply. Now that 
they take newborn babies and place them upon shelves in ft 
warm room, with all the other children, no matter whose, that 
may be born in the hospital, I think that there is a very reason- 
able chance for error. You must take every precaution about 
this and you must have him removed from that place at the 
first possible moment. I do not like the idea of my grandson 
being placed in a vault with a lot of casual screaming brats and 
with the ever-present danger not only of disease but of being 
placed in the wrong bassinet. Please let me know that I need 
not worry about this and let me know at the earliest moment 
when you can arrive at Hillcrest. I am already working over 
a list of invitations and of course we must know the date. . . , 

It is pleasing to note here that the wishes of George Apley 
were scrupulously followed by his son. John Apley, Jr., was 
christened at Hillcrest January 15, 1929, the house being es- 
pecially opened for the occasion. Except that through some 
oversight no arrangements had been made for the distaff side 
of the family until the Hogarths arrived quite unexpectedly, 
the occasion moved with very little friction. 


Dear John: 

I did not sleep well last night. As one grows older sleep does 
not come as easily. I put on my dressing-gown and went into 
your mother's sewing parlour at the front of the house to read, 
but I could not keep my mind on the pages of my book al- 
though it was my Emerson, who I believe is one of the great- 
est men ever produced by this nation, certainly by Harvard. 
I could not keep my mind on the book because my thoughts 
were like a book in themselves. I had taken two cups of 
coffee last night after dinner in order to fortify myself against 
Professor Speyer's paper, "Certain Dangerous Modern Ten- 
dencies," which he read before the Eight O'Clock Club. Being 
Secretary of this organization I was obliged to keep alert 
enough to make an abstract of the speaker's remarks. I have 
never liked the practice of borrowing the speaker's paper later, 
which is indulged in by some secretaries I might mention. Of 
late years this necessity for concentration is apt to give me a 
bad night afterward. 

My mind was like the pages of a book. It fluttered here and 
there as pages do when the wind blows them, out under the 
pines at Pequod Island. The house was very quiet. Outside 
the fronts of Beacon Street, the brick walks and the asphalt 
shone emptily beneath those new glaring street lights that il- 
luminate our front rooms and disturb our slumber. For one of 
the first times I can remember it seemed to me that Beacon 
Street was a trifle sad in its emptiness. It was as though some- 
thing had left it. It was like that street in Ecclesiastes "when 
the sound of the grinding is low." 1 began thinking about you 
and about the newest and most welcome member of our family. 
I hoped that you were not bringing our new boy into as chang- 
ing a world as the one into which I introduced you. 1 had never 
thought before that this devastating effect of almost uncalcu- 
lable change is what has made you different from what 1 might 


have expected, but I believe that this is the reason that you 
are sometimes somewhat of an enigma to me. You are a part 
of this new Frankenstein-like world which will always be a 
little bit beyond my powers of comprehension. 

Have you ever stopped to think how great this material 
revolution has been? You have probably not done so any more 
than I, because we accept the obvious so easily. When 1 was a 
boy I went to bed by candlelight. The old candlesticks are still 
on the shelf by the cellar stairs, and later there were jokes about 
country bumpkins blowing out the gas. I washed out of a 
pitcher and a basin. Later there was a single zinc tub for the 
entire family. I remember how it surprised me even five years 
ago when a salesman demonstrated to me that it was quite pos- 
sible to arrange modern plumbing facilities in a place like 
Pequod Island. The human voice can now reach around the 
world. It is a simple afternoon's diversion to drive eighty or 
ninety miles. Our two heroes, Byrd and Lindbergh, by far 
the most hopeful, indeed to my mind the only hopeful, human 
products arising from this chaotic change, have spanned the 
Atlantic Ocean. (We are all not a little gratified incidentally 
that Richard Byrd is among us here in Boston. I proposed 
him myself for the Berkley Club.) There is no use reciting any 
more of the obvious. I have given reason enough why you 
should all be changed. This material change has made you all 
materialists, and yet it has rendered your grasp on reality un- 
certain. It has made you rely on the material gratification of the 
senses. It has made you worship Mammon and in this new 
material world everything comes too easily. Heat comes too 
easily and cold. Money comes too easily. Don't forget that it 
will go as easily too. Romance comes too easily, and success. 
We have all grown soft from this ease. Position changes too 
easily. Values shift elusively. When everything is totalled, up 
we have evolved a fine variety of flushing toilets but not a 


very good world, if you will excuse the coarseness of the simile. 

I hope for our new boy's sake that this change is very nearly 
over. I hope, when he grows up, that those who are comfort- 
ably off will begin to realize again their dury to the community. 
I hope, when he grows up, that he may be able to recognize a 
lady by her manner and by her dress. I hope that he will sec 
what so many of you have forgotten, that there must be certain 
standards, that there must be certain formulae in art and 
thought and manners. There must be a class which sets a tone, 
not for its own pleasure, but because of the responsibility which 
it owes to others. In a sense it may be what the demagogues call^ 
a privileged class, but it must know how to pay for its privilege. 

Such a class must always have its eccentricities, but it should 
also have its ideals. I think that 1 am safe in saying that we have 
such a class here, which is what raises us above mediocrity. We 
have contrived to maintain something of the spirit in spite of 
all this change. In my opinion it is the best heritage which we 
can pass to another generation. I hope that I may not live to 
see the time when this is swept away. I hope that you may un- 
derstand this now that you have a son. 

Yesterday I bowled at the Province Club and my back is 
very lame. 1 have also been reading a book which has made 
me very sad. It is by a new author named Hemingway entitled 
"The Sun also Rises." 1 am not a prude but 1 do not like it. Trm 
Hemingway is obviously not a gentleman nor are his charac- 
ters gentlemen or ladies, yet 1 am broad-minded enough to 
admit that the man has a certain startling and crude power, 
although 1 feel that he resorts to artistically unfair sensational 
and mechanical tricks. 

When this book came up before our Beacon Street Circulat- 
ing Library Committee 1 stood out against all the others ex- 
cept Mrs. Sill, who always likes to be contradictory, for having 
it included on our recommended list. I did so because the book, 


gross, sexual, and unmoral though it be, points a very definite 
moral. It is that this wretched promiscuity so widely practised 
does not and cannot pay. It shows the unhappiness of those who 
practise it. Yet surely Mr. Hemingway must exaggerate 
somewhat. From what I am able to observe of the new mem- 
bers of the Club in Cambridge these young fellows are of as 
fine a type as ever, though I do believe they drink more than 
is good for them. . . . 

Dear John: 

In my opinion one of the most damnable examples of the 
materialism which we face is the new School of Business Ad- 
ministration at Harvard. Though widely different, it is as 
great a threat to idealism as Prohibition itself. I have, of course, 
not been to see it and when I motor by it I look the other way j 
but I hear that there is a tablet upon one of the buildings which 
greatly amuses me. If I am not mistaken it speaks of business 
as the "newest of the arts and the oldest of the professions." 
If this is so, it is wrong on both counts. Certainly there is one 
profession which is older. 

By the by, I have a new bootlegger. He is really a capital 
fellow. He gets his supplies, a few bottles at a time, from Pull- 
man car porters coming from Montreal. 1 am buying from 
him liberally, purely out of principle as of course 1 stocked the 
cellar full enough to last my lifetime before that damnable 
amendment came into force. Also, of course, there is your 
grandfather's cellar at Hillcrest over which I am placing a 
special watchman. The papers last week report three deaths 
by wood alcohol poisoning and there have been two murders 
in bootlegged feuds in the North End. All this is capital and 
I hope teaches everyone a lesson. . . . 

Dear John: 

It is alwavs a pleasure to write you because I know that I 


can speak to you freely a thing which is not always possible 
hereabouts. Eleanor brought a strange man home to dinner 
last night, since this seems to be a day of casual acquaintances. 
She was evasive as to where she met him but he appears to be 
a graduate student of Harvard. His peculiarity of speech and 
manner indicate that he comes from a very long distance, prob- 
ably the Middle West, a place 1 have not seen, nor do I wish to 
see it. 

What amused both your mother and me was his total mis- 
conception of our position. As you know, we have always tried 
to live simply and I dislike doing rooms over, so that the house 
may be a trifle musty, which may be why our guest laboured 
under the delusion that we were not comfortably off. This must 
have been his delusion because he spoke in a radical manner, 
favouring the cutting down of large inheritances. I did not 
care to disabuse him. In fact, in the library over cigars I agreed 
with him. 

1 think it would be a very good thing if a large number of the 
colossal fortunes now being accumulated by the uneducated 
were eventually handed over to the Government, This, of 
course, does not apply to people who are used to the responsi- 
bilities which go with inherited wealth. This is a small class 
but one of the greatest importance. Upon our shoulders rests 
the future of all educational and philanthropic institutions. It 
is the very basis of the world as we know it, but once our class 
loses its sense of responsibility it is lost. The employees in 
the Apley Mills are well-fed and well-clothed and they always 
must be. We must also do what little we can to relieve the 
sufferings of those less fortunate than ourselves less fortu- 
nate, perhaps, but it must be remembered also that these per- 
sons have a freedom of action which is denied us. You must 
be very careful about this when 1 am gone. One of the most 
important things these days is to live unostentatiously. Thus 


nothing has pleased me so much as the belief of Eleanor's new 
friend that we are not comfortably off. . . . 

Dear John: 

I have incurred a great deal of difficulty in taking a stand 
which may surprise you. I heard a number of the younger 
members of the Club speaking of an allegedly obscene book 
called "Lady Chatterley's Lover" by one of these new writers 
named Lawrence, not to be confused with the British hero 
who has done so much for Arabia. I laid hands upon this book 
expecting to be greatly shocked, as I have been by nearly every 
bit of literature which has come my way of late. At first I was 
stunned but now, in my opinion, this book is a work of art. 
Even your mother and 1 have quarrelled violently on the 
subject a thing which has not happened in years. 1 made a 
great mistake in allowing your mother to read it. It is now 
in the safe with the silver so that Eleanor cannot lay her hands 
on it. Things go on here much as usual j I am glad that this is 
to. Boston is a pretty good place to live in. ... 

One attitude of strangers in our midst, which has always 
been a source of amazement to this writer and to others, is an 
impression which they bring away of a narrow-minded dour- 
ness among those who set our social and intellectual tone. In 
this they are very wrong. We have for years harbored minori- 
ties. When one penetrates beneath the meticulous exterior, 
one finds here a mellow broad-mindedness and a cheerful 
optimism for the future, not manifest elsewhere. Age was mak- 
ing Apley mellow j age was gradually giving him a confidence 
unknown to him in earlier manhood. 

A great many things have been going on here [we find him 
writing to his friend Walker] . A great many "crackpots" have 


advanced a great many absurd ideas, but these do not disturb 
me as they used to. I notice that every time good sound com- 
mon sense triumphs in the end. There is a substratum of com- 
mon sense upon which we can all count. We all know in our 
heart of hearts that we are a good deal more comfortably off 
than we would be anywhere else. The stock market reflects 
this feeling, but it is a great deal too high. 1 am now well out 
of it and back into tax-exempt Governments and Municipals. 
I really believe that my total Income Tax this year will not 
exceed seventy-five dollars, which I think under the circum- 
stances is doing rather well. 

This mellowness of Apley, not unlike the sunset that casts 
a glow that gives an infinite softness to the bricks of Beacon 
Hill, is manifest in his attitude toward the whimsies of the 
younger generation. So much has been written about this phase 
of postwar madness, now fortunately waning, that unpleasant 
details need not be mentioned. Apley, whose sense of pro- 
priety was strong, was also among the first to sound a note of 
hope. We quote from another letter to Walker, which displays 
that same breadth of vision that allowed him to see the good in 
so many things, as in "Lady Chatterley's Lover." 

Dorothy and Johnny Stillwell asked me to their daughter, 
Jane's, coming-out party at the Somerset. I attended frankly 
to lend the Still wells my support as I have always admired 
the sensible way this nice little couple has behaved. It was 
the first time that I have attended such a party since the War. 
1 was prepared for surprises, but not for what I saw. It seems 
to me that this "cutting-in" system has turned a formal func- 
tion into a grotesque rout. Tfie very music to which the young 
people danced was calculated to arouse rather than to suppress 
desire. I for one am not averse to seeing romance bud upoa 


the ballroom floor, and the Somerset can be thanked for many 
of our more successful marriages. Indeed, I believe, that is 
what the Somerset is for. Yet there can be no real romance 
with such music, especially when the orchestra leader bursts 
into song rich in expressions from the stable and the gutter. 
There no longer seems to be any discipline in the stag line. 
Indeed, almost the entire floor is covered with indolent young 
men, many of doubtful antecedents, some of whom are smok- 
ing and some frankly intoxicated. 

A few years ago, this whole unsavoury sight would have 
made me feel that the world was over, but we oldsters are 
not as easily shocked as we used to be. I know now, after 
talking with certain young fellows at the Club who are quite 
frank about it, that most of this exterior is largely "bosh." 
You have only to look at the faces of these youngsters to know 
that they are as moral as we were and that their ideals are 
quite as high as ours. If there is a certain lack of reticence in 
their dealings with young girls, who certainly look very sweet 
and athletic in the new dresses, this frankness is probably all 
for the best. As Kipling so aptly puts it, "a kiss or two is nothing 
to you." Perhaps it meant a good deal more to us, Mike, than 
was absolutely necessary. 1 am sure that the relationships of 
these young people are all founded, as ours were, on a spirit 
of companionship. Considering their family tradition it would 
be absurd to think of anything else. 

It even occurs to me to-night, although this is simply a whim 
of the moment and probably not quite sound, that you and I 
may have missed something in our day, Mike. In a great many 
ways I envy these children their freedom and their companion- 
ship with its many possibilities for the outlet of natural high 
spirits. I am sure, for them as they did for us, that most things 
will turn out right in the end, and perhaps they will all be 
better wives and husbands for it. At any rate it all seems a 


little beyond me now. It is time for younger people to bother 
about these things. It is time for us to sit by the side of the 
road and to watch the parade go by. 

At any rate there is one thing I am certain of. This busi- 
ness will not last, this extravagance of thought and money is 
abnormal j it is bound to be, with General Electric selling 
where it is to-day. 



Rome Through the Eyes of an Enthusiast, 
Although in Failing Health 

IN THE AUTUMN of 1929 we find a pleasant interlude 
in Apley's life, forat this time he took a much needed 
rest from his great activities and we see him embarking from 
Boston upon a trip to Europe and particularly for an extended 
visit to Rome, a city of his dreams which he had never visited 
There were two reasons lor this decision. The first largely 
concerned the important post which was given that year to a 
distant cousin, Horatio Apley, in the United States Embassy at 
Rome. Although George Apley had only met Horatio Apley 
once, at a football game many years before, this lack of ac- 
quaintance did not dim his interest in this relative's unexpected 
success. He speaks affectionately of Horatio Apley in a letter to 
his son. 

Dear John: 

You have doubtless heard the news about your Cousin 
Horatio and the Embassy. This is one of the reasons why we 
are all going to Rome for some months. I think we owe it to 
Horatio as well as to others to show him that the family is 
squarely behind him in his spectacular success. Not since your 
Cousin Applegate married Sir George, the baronet, has such 


a really worth-while tribute been paid the family. We must 
do our part, even though I have never approved of Horatio 
from what I have heard of him. 

Besides this, it will give Eleanor an opportunity to see 
something of the gay cosmopolitan world where it is pleasant 
to know a place is always reserved for us. I have sent Horatio 
a cable telling him that we are coming and asking that we be 
included in some of the more exclusive social functions for 
the coming months. 1 have explained to him that I should 
prefer not to meet His Holiness. As for that remarkable man, 
Mussolini, who seems to have had the courage to stamp out 
radicalism, that is quite another matter. Of course, Horatio 
will be glad to attend to all of this. We do not wish to stay 
at his house, but in some near-by*hotel. 

Between you and me, I greatly hope that all this may 
turn Eleanor's mind in another direction. I have asked you be- 
fore what you think of this man William Budd, and you were 
noncommittal. I for one am not. How my daughter, my own 
little girl, should be able to abide such a man is more than 
I can imagine. Though I may not have always shown it, 
Eleanor has always seemed to me one of the most delicate, 
sweet, and sensitive flowers in our family. That this blossom 
which has cheered me so often should be plucked bv the fin- 
gers of a penniless journalist, none of whose work is even 
familiar to me, fills me with a very honest indignation. When 
Budd called to see me last week, I was frankly too ill to receive 
him. He is obviously an adventurer, utterly unfamiliar with 
the world which he is trying to enter. He is obviously marry- 
ing Eleanor for her money and position. I cannot for the life 
of me see why Eleanor should be delighted, nor can I see, 
speaking to you frankiy, why you have not taken a more 
definite stand. Surely you must dislike this man, Budd, as in- 
tensely as I do, because Eleanor is, after all, your sister. . . 


This allusion will be almost sufficient for what was to Apley, 
and is still to nearly all the family, a sad example of infatuation. 

It was thus that Apley was absent from America at the time 
of the stock market crash which has caused such deserved and 
undeserved misfortune, the end of which is not yet. His ab- 
sence from home, however, did not remove his thoughts from 
home. He recognized that we were facing another real crisis. 

Dear John: 

I am just back from a very interesting walk with Clara 
Goodrich on the Palatine Hill where there are so many in- 
teresting foundations of imperial palaces. Your mother and 
Eleanor and the Chickerings elected to go to an Embassy tea 
party as did Mr. Goodrich, so that Clara and I had the palaces 
quite to ourselves, except for a very loquacious guide who 
charged me ten lire more than was correct I still do not 
know quite how. On my return, I found that the worst has 
happened i the market has collapsed. I am sending you a list 
of certain friends who 1 believe may be seriously involved 
through their own carelessness. Tell them I am standing ready 
to help them, but 1 wish nothing to be said about it. Good 
always comes out of these panics and this one should show 
ottr working people how necessary it is to save in good times 
instead of buying worthless odds and ends and becoming 
softened by a new mode of living. They must get back to basic 
principles j we all must. 

Rome is really a delightfuj place, particularly when one 
brings one's own group with one. Having a group does away 
with a great deal of what I consider the danger of travel. 
The danger is that travel always gets one a little bit out of 
touch with home j the sight of new faces and the reception of 
new ideas is sometimes a little bit unsettling to the best of 
us, and makes for the restlessness which you felt when you re- 


turned from the War. I am too old to be restless now. To-day 
Rome only teaches me the beauties of the place I live in. 

It seems to me that Mrs. Gardner has brought back to us 
all that is really best of Rome and Italy and has considerately 
left the rest behind. A visit to her Fenway Palace really suf- 
fices to show one everything. The head of Aphrodite in our 
Museum is superior to anything I have seen in the Vatican. 
I also think that we have by far the better half of the so-called 
Ludovici Throne. I wish the Coliseum was situated in a more 
open space as is our Harvard Stadium, so that one could view 
its proportions at a single glance. I have been, of course, to sec 
the grave of Keats, but that burying ground does not seem 
to me as interesting as our own Granary burying ground which 
one can see so comfortably from the upper windows of our 
own Athenaeum. I know that you will laugh at me for all 
this, but I really mean it, in a way. Of course Rome is the 
Eternal City; its yellow bricks, its masses of old construction, 
its old tombs in the Campagna give a great sense of antiquity. 
Rome has been loved by everyone. That is why we have 
brought so much of it home. I suppose I am getting old. I sup- 
pose this is why so much of it makes me homesick. I see in it the 
ruins of so many hopes greater than any of mine. Personally, 
I long to get back, but I think that the change is doing Eleanor 
a great deal of good. Although Horatio is very busy, he is do- 
ing what he can for us, a luncheon and two teas where we have 
met nearly everyone who is worth while. Yet I still feel a 
little out of touch with things. Will you please, if you can 
spare the time, go up to Boston and see if the roof at Hillcrest, 
near the angle by the Terrace, is still leaking. I have been hav- 
ing great difficulty with the carpenter about this. I should also 
like to know what is being done about the family of squirrels 
which has invaded the attic. I do not want them killed, but 
I do want them put out of the attic. This worries me very 


much. Eleanor sends her love. As far as I know she has not 
written to Budd for the last three days. Your mother and I 
both think that she is getting over it, and that is reason enough 
for the sacrifice we make in being here. 1 picked up a flea yes- 
terday, I think in one of the small churches. That is one thing 
which we have not got at home. . . . 

Dear John: 

I have just been to the Villa at Frascati. As I looked at the 
numerous fountains, I could not for the life of me remember 
whether or not the plumbing has been turned off at Hillcrest. 
Will you please wire about this? Also the cypresses reminded 
me that the evergreen hedge in the family lot has not been cut 
back at the cemetery. Will you please see about this, too? I can- 
not go away without neglecting a great deal. Eleanor has met a 
young man in the Guarda Nobile, and I do hope he will take 
her mind off Budd. He seems to be making the effort. I have 
bought several pictures for little John. Will you please get 
him the very best rocking horse that you can find for his 
Christmas present? I am counting the days when I can get 
home$ so is Clara Goodrich. Your mother keeps wishing to 
remain. Believe me, I am only here on account of Eleanor. 
If Rome is beautiful, the food is not good. Will you please 
fee that the locks are secure on the wine cellar at Beacon 
'Street? . . . 

Dear John: 

I have been very ill for the last three weeks, one of the 
first times that I have been ill in my life. It started with a cold 
I contracted from looking too long at the sunset. It developed 
into influenza. I still am very weak. The only good that^has 
come out of all this trip is what it may do for Eleanor. She 
and your mother have been with me constantly. The thing 
which worries me, as your mother may have written, but you 


must not believe too much of it, is something one of the 
doctors has said about my heart. Please do not say anything 
about this to anyone. My heart has always been all right, and 
after all I am not so old. At any rate these Italian doctors 
have not improved since the days of Benvenuto Cellini, and 
they arc all unsanitary. I shall not be in the least worried un- 
til I get an overhauling at home, and I don't want you to be. 
Clara Goodrich has been reading me the " Marble Faun." [ 
do think Hawthorne has hit off the spirit of this place ex- 
cellently. Again 1 caution you not to tell anyone about my 
heart because it is all bosh. . . 

Thus we have the first intimation ever conveyed that Apley'i 
health was failing. That he faced this failing in health with the 
gallantry of his kind is natural, and part of his tradition. 
Though he treated the matter lightly this opinion was not 
shared by his wife or daughter, and doubtless he himself se- 
cretly knew that there was reason to fear. This may account 
for his activities in the last years of his life and for his anxiety 
to set his mind and his house in order. Ever after this illness, 
one receives the very definite impression that Apley is taking 
leave of something, that he is balancing accounts with himself, 
that he is living more and more in a world of memory. He was 
more and more the spectator watching the world pass by. Even 
the marriage of his daughter Eleanor with William Budd, a 
New York journalist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, did not 
disturb him as it might have in former years. Apley's only com- 
ment was that he had done his best. 

I have done my best [he writes to his friend Walker]. And 
that is all anyone can do. It is now time for someone else to 
try. The doctors, who seem to me to be painfully ignorant 
men, are keeping me very still at Hillcrest this summer, but 


1 have insisted on my Saturday bird walk with Clara Goodrich, 
and Catharine and the doctors can't stop that. As for Eleanor 
I am glad to say that I have never in any way tried to in- 
fluence my children. She must lead her own life. 1 have led 
mine. The wedding, of course, was an important one, and I 
think af last my new son-in-law understands what he is getting 
into. He seemed quite shaken when I gave Eleanor away. At 
the reception, he appeared to do his best to pull himself to- 
gether, but his manner was distrait. He and Eleanor are now 
somewhere on the West Coast. Of course, 1 am telling every- 
one that I am greatly pleased with Budd, and we shall let it 
go at that. This seems to me the definite end of a chapter. I 
am glad that my little grandson is here with me, now able 
to walk. I seem to have more in common with him than 1 have 
with most people. He has the Apley eyes and the same yellow 
hair. His nurse, both his grandmother and 1 feel, neglects him 
shamefully, but he seems to survive it. 

My real reason for this letter is to ask you to come up to see 
me. I have not seen you for a long while, Mike. 1 really think 
you have been away from Boston long enough so that there 
would be no great flutter of gossip if you came back here on 
a little visit. I should see that only our own crowd met you, 
and we could have some good talks about tire old days. I really 
do not think it would do any harm if you came up now on the 
grounds of seeing an old friend who is not well, although this 
talk of my not being well is largely bosh. 

There are many reasons against the inclusion of the follow- 
ing letter, as it was written quite obviously at this time when 
Apley's health was failing. When one remembers the gallantry 
with which he faced as an active man the impairment of his 
physical faculties, for medical examination had proved only 
too clearly the existence of serious constitutional organic de- 


fects, the publication of this letter may seem unsportsmanlike} 
yet despite the depression of mood which it illustrates it con- 
tains an inherent soundness and is besides such an exposition of 
his philosophy that it cannot but be included. 

Dear John: 

I have a good deal of time on my hands these days, more 
than 1 ever remember havirig. Except for two hours in the 
morning managing correspondence with Miss Fearing from 
the office I seem to spend most of my time on the porch watch- 
ing John, Jr., playing in the sand pile we have built for him. 
I have been impressed to-day that he seems to do the same 
thing over and over again. He has definite limitations of ao 
tivity and thought, but then that is true with most of us. We 
all do the same things over and over again. 

1 have been amusing myself to-day by reading Emerson's 
essay on Self-Reliance. There is a brave ring to the words. 
There is a courage about them which I like to think that 
Emerson and the rest of us, in a lesser measure, have drawn 
from the rocky soil and from this harsh climate. I like to think 
we are all self-reliant in a way, but sometimes Emerson leads 
one's thoughts along disturbing channels. Emerson disturbed 
me this afternoon. 

He made me do something which 1 have never really done- 
He made me examine my life objectively, and I cannot say 
that 1 liked it very much} however, I could see myself asi 
perhaps you and some others see me. It seems to me that, al- 
though 1 have tried, 1 have achieved surprisingly little com- 
pared with my own father and his father, for instance. I re- 
peat that this negative result has not been for want of trying.. 
The difficulty seems to have been that something has always 
stepped in the way to prevent me. I have always been faced 
from chilcihood by the obligation of convention, and all ol 


these conventions have been made by others, formed from the 
fabric of the past. In some way these have stepped in between 
MC and life. 1 had to realize that they were designed to do 
just that. They were designed to promote stability and in- 
heritance. Perhaps they have gone a little bit too far. 

When I stopped to think of it, I had the unpleasant con- 
viction that everything 1 have done has amounted almost to 
nothing. I tried to think of the things which 1 have cared 
About most. In all conscience they have been simple things. 
They have been the relaxation after physical weariness the 
feel of wind on the face, the feel of cold water on the body. I 
/nay say parenthetically that the doctors will no longer permit 
me to take my daily cold tub. Now and then something has 
<come to me in unexpected moments when 1 have been near 
the woods or water at sundown. I have felt at such odd times 
a peace and happiness amounting to a belief that I was in tune 
with a sort of infinity. It has been like moments I have had 
with you and Eleanor when you were growing up. I have 
known the joys of companionship now and then, and I have 
known the deep satisfaction of friendship. I have known the 
satisfaction of accomplishing something on which 1 have 
centred all my energies and hopes. I have known the feeling 
of warm earth. 1 have heard the sleigh bells sound in winter. 
All this has been very good. Yet somehow I seem to have en- 
joyed very little of these pleasures, for 1 have never seemed 
to have had the time to enjoy them. More than this, I will tell 
you frankly I have sometimes deliberately tried not to enjoy 
them. I have turned away from them because 1 have believed 
that most of these were pleasures of the senses rather than of 
the intellect. I h^ve been taught since boyhood not to give way 
to sensuality. 1 think this afternoon, now that it is almost too 
late, that this viewpoint may be a little wrong. There has been 
roo much talk in my life. There has been too little action. 


These thoughts were still in my mind when I came in here 
to the library to write this letter, and now that I am here, I 
feel very much better. The family portraits are all around me. 
There is my grandfather painted on one of his visits to Paris. 
There is my own father when he was a young man. There 
are the Chippendale chairs and the tall clock and the gate- 
legged table. All these objects are very consoling this after- 
noon. I can realize now that these are the things which make 
people like you and me behave, the exacting tyrants from 
which we cannot escape, but there is something beneficial in 
their rule. Memory and tradition are the tyrants of our en- 
vironment. You cannot be very radical or very wrong when 
you see Moses Ap ley's face. He made me think of some other 
things on the favorable ledger of my life. 1 have always told 
the truth. 1 have never shirked standing by my convictions. 
1 have tried to realize that my position demanded and still 
demands the giving of help to others. I have tried in my poor 
way to behave toward all men in a manner whiclrmight not 
disgrace that position. Now I can feel a humble sense of pride 
that 1 have done so. 

1 have not had a very good time in doing it. There is a great 
deal of talk in these days about happiness. An English woman 
named Mrs. Bertrand Russell, whose life in many ways has not 
been the same as mine, has written a strange book entitled 
"The Right To Be Happy" which has disturbed even your 
mother's admirable sense of balance. It seems to me to-day in 
all this unhappy country there is a loud, lonely cry for happi- 
ness. Perhaps it would be better if people realized that happi- 
ness comes only by indirection, that it can never exist by any 
conscious effort of the will. I think this is a mistake that you 
and Eleanor and all the rest of you are making. When the hour 
comes for you to balance your accounts I wonder if you will 
have had any better time than 1. 1 doubt it. 


At any rate, I feel that I have been the means of continuing 
something which is worth more than happiness. I have stood 
for many things which 1 hope will not vanish from the earth. 
I am only one of many here who have done so. The world I 
have lived in may be in a certain sense restricted but it has been 
a good world and a just world. Much of it may have been built 
on a sense of security which is now disappearing but it has also 
been built on certain elements of the spirit which will always 
be secure: on honour and on courage and on truth. 

I have been engaged during the past two weeks in going 
over the details of my will. 1 am very anxious that certain 
small possessions go to the right people and that you and 
Eleanor will not quarrel over my wishes. I dispatched the 
bronzes to the Art Museum yesterday, where they will be 
exhibited on the Apley side of the large wing. I, for one, am 
very glad lo have them out of the house. The silver is being 
carefully listed and so is the furniture. I want you to take 
particular care to look after Norman Rowe at Pequod Island. 
There is also a fund being set aside for the servants. Do you 
want your great-grandmother's locket with your great-grand- 
father's hair inside it? If you don't I shall give it to the His- 
torical Society. I am very much puzzled about what to do with 
certain family letters. I do not think there is anything in them 
which will do much harm and I do not wish to burn them. 
They are in five tin boxes on the left-hand side of the attic 
stairs. As you know, most of the Apley letter books are on loan 
at the Essex Institute, where I imagine you will be willing to 
leave them. For the rest you must come up here to see me. 
Copies of my own letters, pamphlets, and papers I am having 
arranged in suitable boxes marked and documented. A great 
many people are coming to call on me every afternoon, all 
sorts of younger members of the family and many older friends. 
I had not realized that I was so popular. . . . 




The Final Arrangements 
For a Pilgrim's Departure 


This letter may seem a gloomy one to you but it is not 
to me. It is prompted by a conversation I had with my doctor, 
Minot Wingate, I am convinced that he is an alarmist, as in 
many ways I have never felt better in my life or more appreci- 
ative of everything which is going on around me. Yet it is 
necessary at a certain time to make certain arrangements. These 
requests and suggestions 1 am making to you are in no sense 
urgent but will stand for a number of years. 

In the event of my death a good deal of pressure will be 
brought to bear on you to have an elaborate funeral. All the 
societies to which I belong and also the philanthropic organi- 
zations will in the nature of things send representatives, who 
will in all probability seek positions as hohorary pallbearers. 
In this way the church aisle is apt to become very crowded and 
uncomfortable and this tendency seems to be growing, accord* 
ing to my observations of the funerals which I have attended 
recently. v For myself 1 do not want anything of the sort. I 
simply want places reserved in the middle of the church for 
these representatives. The elaborate floral wreaths which they 


will present I want placed to one side as inconspicuously as is 
compatible with politeness. The order in which the family are 
to sit may be somewhat confusing to you. As you may not 
be as conversant with the various branches as I am, 1 am giving 
you a memorandum and a diagram. 1 am also giving a list 
of pallbearers and their order. You notice that ] include Nor- 
man Rowe and our old coachman, if he is still alive, and also 
according to custom one representative to be chosen among the 
workers of the Apley Mills. This 1 think will give the neces- 
sary simplicity of tone. 1 need not tell you that these men 
must be treated with the same courtesy and respect which is 
accorded to the other pallbearers. After the funeral you will 
have special refreshments served to these three in the small 
servants' dining-room, either at Beacon Street or Hillcrest. 
My only reason for this is that I do not wish them to be em- 
barrassed by the weight of the other company. 1 want you to 
spend at least fifteen minutes with them yourself and to take 
a personal interest in seeing that all their wants are satisfied. 
Also, you are to give each of them a twenty-dollar gold piece 
as coming directly from me, with my kindest regards. 

1 want you to be especially careful to see that the secretary 
and officers of my Harvard class are made comfortable and 
are treated cordially. There must be whisky ,and cigars for 
these and a few others in the library, including of course the 
executors. I want you to be particularly careful that any friends 
of mine who may attend the church and whose dress and ap- 
pearance may cause them embarrassment are looked out for 
with every possible attention and are thanked by you or by 
some other representative of the family personally for their 
thoughtfulness in attending. You may add, in speaking to 
them, that this was my particular wish. 

A word about the family will be enough. In my experience 
these occasions are apt to be the source of friction and ill feeling 


which may last over a period of years. There is apt to be a 
certain amount of jealousy displayed by those who wish to show 
themselves as having stood high in the regard of the deceased. 
Your mother and my sister Amelia will help you in estimating 
exactly the degree of attention which you must show to every- 
one. The Douglas Apleys will be apt as always to be somewhat 
officious and pushing. It may be as well to put them in one of 
the pews farther back. I shall hope that your Aunt Jane, if 
she is alive, may be able to attend but you must leave this 
decision to the doctors of the institution. In other words, 1 
want everything to go as smoothly as though I were here 
myself to oversee it. 

The arrangements about the stone have been already made. 
I do not want any verse or inscription added. These few words 
with the memoranda I am giving you will cover the whole 
matter, except for a few afterthoughts I may have from time 
to time that will relieve you of considerable responsibility. 
There is one task which I am leaving up to you and which I 
want you to oversee personally in such a way that no gossip 
may be connected with it. 1 have put together a few odd 
articles, including some books which I owned in college. These 
I want you to bring yourself to a Mrs. Mary M. O'Reilly, 
whose address you will find in my address book. 1 want you 
to see her personally and to tell her that it was my wish that 
she should have these things and my wish also, which you will 
agree to fulfill, that she shall come to you for your assistance 
in ajiy time that she may be in any difficulty. I shall not say 
anything more about this matter but shall rely on your tact and 
your good judgment. 

If I do not get around to it myself I wish you to remember 
that the joists in the cellar beneath the old laundry at Hill* 
crest are in very bad condition. They all have dry-rotted and 
should be replaced. If you attend to this I want you to get 


a new carpenter. The one I have has taken advantage of me o) 
late in his bills. You must learn to watch this sort of person very 
carefully. I do not need to recommend to your care the four 
dogs on the place and the horses, because you have always 
been very fond of animals. Jacob the groom has been drinking 
heavily lately. You must wink at this as much as you possibly 
can. Jacob in many ways has been a fine fellow and has taught 
you to ride, himself. Somehow horses and liquor have a way 
of going together. Perhaps it is not for either of us to reason 

Things have been very gay and cheerful around here during 
the last few weeks. 1 have never had so many callers. A special 
dinner is being given for me at the Province Club and two 
old salts from the Apley Sailors' Home who remember your 
grandfather have come up especially to see me. Your great- 
uncle's gardener from Pachogue Neck has come up also and 
Norman Rowe has come down from Maine. Cousins of yours 
come in every day to see me. I think they are fine young peo- 
ple. Their ideas may be slightly different from mine but on 
the whole the family traits are about the same, and I am very 
proud to be related to them. 

Preparations are on foot already for the customary Thanks- 
giving party which will be a large one this year as I wish every 
possible member of the family to be included. I shall want, 
if it can be arranged, you and Louise to come up a week in 
advance. Your ideas are needed for the pencil and paper games 
and 1 am composing a small family pageant. You, of course, 
are to take the part of the first John Apley. I have found some 
of his old clothes in the attic, which 1 hope will fit you. It is 
high time for you to enter into the spirit of this occasion rather 
more assiduously than you have in the past. 

During the last week I have been working on several plans 
to rid the attic of those gray squirrels. I think now the only 


thing to do is to keep watch near the limb of the elm tree and 
to shoot them as they enter by that hole under the gutter. 
If the hole is stopped up they simply gnaw another. I should 
rather have you shoot them than one of the hired men. I really 
think it would look better. . . . 

My dear boy: 

I cannot tell you how deeply your last letter, with its budget 
of good news, has moved me. You must give me credit for 
always knowing that you had the "right stuff" in you. If the 
War put some odd notions in your head, you cannot be blamed 
for that. In many ways it made me a little bit eccentric myself. 
I have always known in the back of my mind that eventually 
you would settle down and that you would find that New York, 
though it may be agreeable in a wav, is not the right place to 
raise children. Your acquaintances there may be more sprightly 
and amusing but they are not th same as old friends here. 
What makes me happier than anything else is the knowledge 
that you have come to this decision without my urging. 1 have 
told you more than once that there are certain things you can- 
not get away from and now you know it. You have had your 
fling and now you are coming back, as one of our flesh and 
blood inevitably must, to take up your responsibilities. I can- 
not be thankful enough that I have lived to see the time when 
all this "bosh" and nonsense is over with. 

You will understand, of course, that your long absence from 
Boston will be a considerable loss to you always. You and 
Louise will find difficulties and annoyances in taking up the 
position which was always waiting for you here. As you say 
that Louise is really the person who is obliging you to take 
this step, perhaps she will understand these difficulties better 
than you. Your mother is already writing to her and is taking 
Steps to have her made a member of the Sewing Circle suitable 


to her age. By 'the time she arrives she will also find herself 
a member of the Thursday Afternoon Debating Club, which 
has given your mother and your Aunt Amelia such pleasure 
always. If she comes up a month from now she will have the 
opportunity of discussing "Is True Happiness Derived from 
Work Rather Than from Play?" The ladies all like these 
questions very much. Perhaps you and I can think of some- 
thing more amusing, in the library, over a good cigar. The 
doctors still allow me one cigar a day. I shall take two on the 
day you come. Be sure to bring up some of the latest stories 
with you. 

It goes without saying that you will face many problems 
on your return among us. I am planning to resign from several 
boards, nominating you in my place. You will of necessity be 
the next president of the Apley Sailors' Home but a member- 
ship on the Lending Library is a different matter. I do not 
think you had better attempt this until your views on literature 
are a little bit more sound. 

Here, by the way, is something which I wish to advance to 
Vou confidentially. I have heard from very good authority 
that there may be a vacancy in the Harvard Corporation. 
Certain of us are looking for a younger man and one of the 
right sort. There is altogether too much sentiment here lately 
for getting outsiders and so-called "new blood" into Harvard. 
The traditions of the place must not be spoiled. There is 
actually some talk about a new president, about whom no one 
seems to have heard. Needless to say, this is only one of the 
wild rumours which circulate at such a time. Harvard will be 
Harvard, just as Harvard was old Harvard when Yale was 
but a pup. Seriously, I think you might be fitted to take your 
place on v the corporation. It is true you have never been a 
scholar but now that you are actually going to live in Boston 
this does not really make much difference. I shall have some 


of the right people meet you and we shall see what can be 

There will be a good deal of hard work ahead for you at 
both the Province and the Berkley Clubs. Though you have 
been a member of both for some years you have not really 
identified yourself with either. This will take a long time 
because there are certain cliques in each with which one must 
cope very carefully. I do think, however, given the requisite 
amount of patience, you may be able to do rather well. 
There is one thing you must remember. Although you must 
show yourself at both these places as often as possible, even 
at the expense of other social obligations, you must try 
on the whole to be silent and observing. Do not above any- 
thing else, until you have been in Boston for at least five years, 
become involved in discussions with any of the regular mem- 
bers. This sort of thing creates a very bad general impression. 
The Berkley Club, which is founded on a more informal 
spirit, you must never treat too lightly. Although you must 
unbend there as much as possible be sure to unbend in a friendly 
way. You will doubtless be called upon, on one of the regular 
evenings, to tell some sort of story or perhaps to sing a song. 
Be sure that you pick out a very good story indeed because 
you will be largely identified by this first venture and you 
will frequently be called upon to repeat the same story. I 
have noticed that you are interested in certain social questions. 
Be sure to deal with these very lightly, if at all better not at 
all. You must understand that the Berkley Club and the 
Province Club are both havens of refuge where no one wishes 
to be emotionally disturbed. 

But I am getting very far afield. I am speaking very prosily, 
cut of sheer joy at having you come back. We can talk about 
all these matters together much more sensibly than I can ever 
put them down on paper. My mind and my heart are bo* 


too full for writing, I repeat I always knew that you had the 
right stuff in you and now we will have a chance to get to know 
each other. What I want particularly is to have a great many 
small men's dinners. There is so much to say. There is so 
much to talk about. God bless you. . . . 

George Apley died in his own house on Beacon Street on the 
thirteenth of December, 1933, two weeks after John Apley 
returned to Boston. 

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The Way of All Flesh 13 
Messer Marco Polo 43 
God's Little Acre 51 
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The Sorrows of Wcrther 

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Dead Souls 40 
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A Farewell to Arms 19 
The Sun Also Rises 170 
Maria Chapdelaine 10 
Best Short Stories of 4 
The Complete Works of 255 
A Bell for Adano 1 6 
The Iliad 166 
The Odyssey 167 
The Complete Works of 14! 
Green Mansions 89 
The Purple Land 24 
A High Wind in Jamaica 112 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame 35 
Antic Hay 209 
Point Counter Point 1 80 
A Doll's House, Ghosts, etc. 6 
Selected Writings of Washington Irving 


The Portrait of a Lady 107 
The Turn of the Screw 169 
The Wings of the Dove 244 
The Philosophy of William James 114 
The Varieties of Religious Experience 70 
Roan Stallion; Tamar and Other 

Poems 118 

The Life and Selected Writings of 234 
Dubliners 124 
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young 

Man 145 
Six Plays by 233 
Darkness at Noon 74 
Yam a 203 

The Collected Short Stories of 21 1 
The Rainbow 128 
Sons and Lovers 109 
Women in Love 68 
Arrowsmith 42 
Babbitt 162 
Dodsworth 252 






Poems 56 

Aphrodite 77 

Napoleon 95 

The Prince and The Discourses of 

Machiavelli 65 
Man's Fate 33 
Death in Venice 

(In Collected German Stories 108) 
The Garden Party 129 
The Late George Apley 182 
Capital and Other Writings 202 
Of Human Bondage 176 
The Moon and Sixpence 27 
Best Short Stones 98 
Disraeli 46 

Casuals of the Sea 195 
Moby Dick 119 
Diana of the Crossways 14 
The Ordeal of Richard Feverel 134 
The Egoist 253 

The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci 138 
The Complete Poetry and Selected 

Prose of John Milton 132 
An Anthology of American Negro 

Literature 163 

An Anthology of Light Verse 48 
Best Amcr. Humorous Short Stories 87 
Best Russian Short Stories, including 

Bunin s The Gentleman from San 

Francisco 1 8 

Eight Famous Elizabethan Plays 94 
Famous Ghost Stories 73 
Five Great Modern Irish Plays 30 
Four Famous Greek Plays 158 
Fourteen Great Detective Stories 144 
Great German Short Novels and 

Stories 108 

Great Modern Short Stories 168 
Great Tales of the American West 238 
Outline of Abnormal Psychology 152 
Outline of Psychoanalysis 66 
The Consolation of Philosophy 226 
The Federalist 139 
The Making of Man: An Outline of 

Anthropology 149 
The Making of Society: An Outline of 

Sociology 183 

The Sex Problem in Modern Society 198 
The Short Bible 57 
Three Famous French Romances 85 

Sapho, by Alphonse'Daudet 

Manon Lescaut, by Antoine Prevost 

Carmen, by Prosper Merimee 
Plays 78 













Parnassus on Wheels 190 

The Selected Verse of Ogden Nash 191 

A Short History of the United States 


Thus Spake Zarathustra 9 
Oracles of 81 
Six Plays of 67 
The Emperor Jones, Anna Christie and 

The Hairy Ape 146 
The Long Voyage Home and Seven 

Plays of the Sea in 
The Golden Treasury 232 
The Collected Short Stories of 123 
The Collected Poetry of 237 
Pensees and The Provincial Letters 164 
Manus the Epicurean 90 
The Renaissance 86 
The Life and Death of a Spanish 

Town 225 

Studies in Murder 113 
Samuel Pepys' Diary 103 
The Best 0/247 
The Satyncon 156 
The Philosophy of Plato 181 
Thfe Republic 153 
Best Tales 82 

The Travels of Marco Polo 196 
Selected Works of 257 
Flowering Judas 88 
Cities of the Plain 220 
Swann's Way 59 
The Captive 120 
The Guermantes Way 213 
Within a Budding Grove 172 

The Yearling 246 
The Cloister and the Hearth 52 
Ten Days that Shook the World 215 
The Life of Jesus 140 
Cyrano de Bergerac 154 
The Confessions of Jean Jacques 
Rousseau 243 

Selected Papers of Bertrand Russell 137 
The Daring Young Man on the Flying 

Trapeze 92 

The Philosophy of Schopenhaijer 52 
Tragedies, I, lA complete, 2 vols. 
Comedies , 2, 2A complete, 2 vols. 

Histories, 3 i "complete^ vols. 

Histories, Poems, 3A{ * ' 
Personal History 32 
Humphry Clinker 159 
Red- Star Over China 126 
The Philosophy of Spinoza 60 






In Dubious Battle 115 

Of Mice and Men 29 

The Grapes of Wrath 148 

Tortilla Flat 216 

The Red and the Black 157 

Tristram Shandy 147 

Storm 254 

Dracula 31 

Lust for Life II 

Eminent Victorians 212 

Lives of the Twelve Caesars 188 

Gulliver's Travels, A Tale of a Tub, The 
Battle of the Books 100 

Poems 23 

The Life of Michelangelo 49 

The Complete Works of 222 

Short Stories 50 

Sea Gull, Cherry Orchard, Three Sis- 
ters, etc, 171 

Henry Esmond 80 

Vanity Fair 131 

Complete Poems 38 

Waldcn and Other Writings 155 
^The Complete Writings of 58 

Anna Karenma 37 

The Sea and the Jungle 99 

Barchester Towers an,d The Warden 4! 

The Eustace Diamonds 251 

Fathers and Sons 21 

Ancient Man 105 

The Theory of the Leisure Class 63 

Including The Aeneid, Eclogues, and 
Georgics 75 

Candidc 47 

Fortitude 178 

The Compleat Angler 26 

Precious Bane 219 

Tono Bungay 197 

The Age of Innocence 229 

Leaves of Grass 97 

Dorian Gray, De Profundis 125 

Poems and Fairy Tales 84 

The Plays of Oscar Wilde 83 

Mrs. Dalloway 96 

To the Lighthouse 217 

Native Son 221 

Irish Fairy and Folk Tales 44 

The Medici 179 

Nana 142 

Amok (In Collected Germ an Stories 108)